Story and Photographs copyright 2004
by Richard Elgenson
Portage has a forest of dead trees
which died after the land sunk in the 1964 quake. They are
visible in the second and third pictures below.
My plan was to
detrain at milepost 54.4 for an optional float trip (package GD-1A) at
Spencer Lake below
the glacier. The train stopped and about 10 of us exited and
walked about 300 feetdown to an area that had an equipment tent and
picnic tables with flowers. The tour guides issued rubber boots,
rain jackets and life vests. We boarded a bus which drove about
one mile to Spencer Lake.
They divided us into 2 goups and
boarded rafts. We shoved off and the guide paddled the raft on
the lake near icebergs which have calved off Spencer
Spencer Lake is deep in places,
several hundred feet deep, yet shallow at the outlet. This
prevents icebergs from flowing out of the lake and visiting the
railroad bridge. Some spots in Spencer Lake are so shallow that
which calves off is
grounded on the bottom although ones near us were floating. 80%
of an iceberg that floats is under water, making the potential of the
icerberg rolling over a dangerous possibility.
We paddled around
in a semicircle and over to the Placer River, then just before the
railroad bridge we went ashore where the bus was waiting. On the
bus, we had lunch composed of crackers, smoked salmon, reindeer
sausage, fruit and bottled water.
The bus returned us to the spot
near the railroad and within 15 minutes the train arrived which took
some passengers back to Portage.