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October 2008
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corvi [userpic]

I took these pictures at Whittier in Alaska, on the Arctic Circle trip. They go with this travelogue about Whittier, and this pointless ghost story. Summary: Whittier has a cool abandoned arcology, and is otherwise very, very creepy, like a trap about to spring closed. One of the people we spoke to in Alaska, when we mentioned we'd been to Whittier said, "For God's sake, why'd you go there?"

This post is dedicated to wolfieboy. Pbth.

The tunnel into Whittier. It's a single lane, so it switches off which direction it runs and whether it's cars or trains. It's two miles long, through the heart of the mountains, and you can feel the weight upon you. Every couple hundred meters, there are side rooms than can be completely sealed off, in case there's a fire in the tunnel and everyone runs out of oxygen.

And this is Whittier. You can see the old arcology, the train station, and the new arcology. There's nothing else, except a handful of salt-gray campers that have been converted to fish-and-chips vendors. The mountains loom on three sides, and the silent gray sea on the fourth.

This is the building everyone actually lives in. Schools and stores and dormitories, all here. Inside, it is painted like a hospital, all beige and gray and white. The air inside is wierdly heavy, and children are very still and quiet. The women too old to sail out with the boats talk about the wind, and all the names of the wind are in Yupik.

This is the old arcology, earthquake-damaged and abandoned. The snow is up over the first story.

This building was meant to house a thousand families.

The abandoned arcology was incredibly cool. I would have liked to get in, but that, er, wasn't very possible.

The fog takes the mountains...

... the sea takes the shore...

... and the ice takes what's left.


Strange, cold and beautiful. But mostly it seems really cold...

It was a little chilly, but not cold enough to wear coats.

... except the part where I was walking on top of what I thought was a couple inches of snow beside a parking lot, and fell chest-deep into a snowdrift in a ditch. And gfish took pictures instead of helping me out. :) That was cold.

Yeah, gfish, that was pretty cold...

Creepy. Really creepy.


Great pictures!

Alaskans say "nothing's shittier than Whittier."

If you'd gone in summer you could have enjoyed the pretty waterfalls and voracious mosquitos.

Despite all that, the two times I've been to Whittier I've found it to be fascinating. I've got a thing for isolated, insular towns (the first time I went, the tunnel only accomodated the railroad). It's hard to beat the fact that most folks live in one little skyscraper. And the good part to Whittier is that it's the launching point for entering Prince William Sound.

Re: dedications, pictures

*chuckle* Thank you.

This looks very nifty. Other than the snow, it looks like some of the places I've climbed on, on army bases. It's amazing the number of places that have been decommissioned and declassified with nothing on them that they let you go exploring in, especially when you're with a boy scout troop.
I really like the picture of the doorway but I can't really tell you why...

whoa. I'd been wanting to see this since you all started talking about it. That's really, really neat.

Whittier is a deep water port so placed that it is impossible, the people who built it swore, for the nukes based in Russia to get a trajectory that could touch it - the mountains too tall, too sheilding.

There's a lot more underneath than above - a lot of places mostly reclaimed by the sea seeping through rock. There are interesting stories from submariners, gossip and rumor patched into the tales told to people and by people far away from secret-loving central powers-that-be.

The only reasons to go to whittier are to greet the tourists and make money off them - or to keep your boat there and sail out - or to launch a kayak toward a thousand small islands, coves, fjords, glaciers coming down to calve in the sea, and mountains everywhere that may be visited by sailors, kayaks, and bush planes - but retains as little memory of it as a sleeping bear of the mosquito that landed, then flew elsewhere after defeated by thick fur.

Come back in the summer, and there are many colors and feels to the land that sleep and hide in the greys, whites, and blues of winter I could show you. (Winter hides its colors until they only escape in sunlight and auroras).