Driving south along the winding road that lay at the foot of beautiful snow capped mountains on one side and the edge of the waterway on the other, about 15 miles south of Portage, we are detoured at the entrance of a tunnel and the road is closed. The tunnel’s opening is visible and open, but obviously something is going on at the other side. We pull off into an off road parking area to get a better look.
We watch as a small red helicopter takes off from his perch barely hanging on the side of the mountain. As he comes and goes we can make out a long line that has been attached underneath and we assume he will be carrying something from within that tunnel very soon. He seemed to be working busily, but whatever his task at hand it seemed to be moving quite slowly!
Later we stop for coffee and hear conversation between tourists about the incident. It seems that in late March an avalanche crashed upon a 64 car Alaskan cargo train burying with snow at least 10 of its cars. It was mostly carrying building supplies and none of the 3 train crew were hurt. A second avalanche the very next day hit the Whittier tunnel that we were now unable to pass through because it remains closed 6 weeks later!