Williwaw Campground in the Portage Valley

This campground is very nice, very secluded with no hookups and just a smidge of ATT cell service.  Our Starlink had no service at all due to the tall mountains ringing this campground.  It was pretty full every night we were there, if you go, make sure you get reservations for the bigger sites.

The drive to Williwaw was a bit White Knuckled.  The wind was howling and there were wind warnings.  We thought it was bad on the first leg from Palmer to Anchorage, but then we got on the section that runs along the northern Turnagain Arm.  That was worse than anything I had ever experienced.  Each time we came around a rock outcropping, the wind wanted to blow the bus off the road and into the water. After that first small “point”, I went a lot slower around all the rest.

The first mosquito I swatted with my new zapper, it sparked and lit on fire  for a second.  Wow!  Since then it’s been zapping them with its 2750 volts. Black Flag Zapper Racket

We drove over to Portage Lake on a blustery day, checked out the visitor center, and afterward we had to go check out the gift shop.  We checked out the glacier boat tour, but the boat was down for repairs, waiting for a part to come in from England.

After lunch we took a hike up the Trail of Blue Ice for a couple miles or so, swatting a zillion mosquitos while walking along.   About half way along the trail, a couple teenage girls came up to us and said they had stumbled upon a bear just ahead and wanted to know if they could walk with us. I noticed they didn’t have any bear spray with them.  Larry said sure, and proceeded to head toward the bear sighting.   And we kept going too.  I thought we should of course go the other way!   Luckily we didn’t see the bear and walked for another half hour, then turned around. The girls thanked us and kept going on toward the visitor center, which was probably another half mile away.  Then I noticed they were running up the trail.

We headed back and kept swatting the mosquitoes the whole way.  I wished I had brought the new zapper with me on that trek!

We hit a real rainy spell here in Williwaw, 3 straight days of rain without it ever stopping!  (Felt like 40 days and 40 nights).  I used the time to catch up on the blog and finishing the Perry Mason series.  We looked at driving over to Whittier for lunch but found out the only decent restaurant was closed.  We drove over anyway on one of the few sunny days.

While there we read a bit about that tunnel that was completed in 1943 as the main “highway” to move goods into Alaska for the war effort.   And a week later at the July 4th parade in Kenai, the woman sitting next to me told me when she was young, you could only get to Whittier via train or boat.  It opened to vehicle traffic on June 7, 2000 after a very extensive conversion from a World War II railroad tunnel.  It’s an odd experience as you straddle the rails when driving thru it as it’s only one car wide, meaning on the half hour you can go to Whittier from Portage and on the hour you can leave the city.   Good timing can save a lot of waiting!

With that in mind, we walked around a bit and then scrambled to get out of town on the hour;  and of coarse there was a train as we drove over,  and they were going to get thru the tunnel while it was outbound too.  We had to wait until after the train  cleared the other side of that very long tunnel.   It did and we proceeded to head back to Portage.

Once on that side of the mountain, we decided to drive over to Moose Flats to see if there were any moose to see.  There weren’t, so we headed back to Williwaw for the afternoon.


That evening we all drove over to the Double Musky for dinner.  It was a Cajun place out here in the middle of nowhere in Girdwood.   I tried the Gumbo and it wasn’t that good.  I think they burned the Roux.  I had the Jambalaya, which was good, probably a 6 of 10 on my Jambalaya scale.

Our Starlink did not work at all while at our site in the Williwaw campground.  I believe the problem was the tall mountains ringing that area only allowed us to connect when a satellite was directly overhead, and there aren’t many sats in the north latitudes yet.   We were able to extend our 4×4 MIMO Cellular antenna up off the roof on the batwing and get some AT&T signal.  It averaged -120dbm or worse.   I tried to use B14 but couldn’t get any signal with that, so I had to settle for B12 and a few other high-frequency bands aggregated together.   So surfing the web was not a fast thing, but we could check the weather and do emails and other internet things.