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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.


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).