Anchorage-Seward road has by far the most traffic we encountered in Alaska. Cars are zipping under the spectacular scenery of the snow capped peaks of Turnagain Mountains, the road and the railroad being just a sliver of flat land between the mountain and the Turnagain Arm Bay. We were told that the highway is prone to accidents and right when we pulled over to admire the view the traffic stalled for miles, just to find out of another head-on collision, similar with another that happened several days ago.
The parking was full with lots of people milling around and the highway was stalled, bumper to bumper but just on the ridge, on top of the road, a black bear was pacing peacefully oblivious to the commotion underneath. It paced, appearing and disappearing behind rocks and bushes, for about 30 minutes to the delight of the onlookers who all wanted to take his picture as long as was keeping his distance.
On the way there are lots of hiking places, with some waterfalls and beautiful views and we stopped close to Portage Glacier in a spectacular place from where you have a amazing view over Byron Glacier and several other peaks covered in snow. If you cross the tunnel going to Whittier, right after it is a short hike to the Portage Glacier that cannot be seen from where we stopped.
A side road takes you for 16 miles to Hope, AK, an old mining town established around the end of the 19th century that preserves a whole lot of traditional houses from the beginning of the 20th century. It has a social hall and an old post office that started to operate also in the 19th century. Its museum collects all sort of old artifacts stored in several barns, on which door a sign of caution stated that a local was mauled recently by a bear on one of the town’s streets.