Chugach National Forest, Turnagain Arm, and Portage Glacier

The earliest sights the lovely Robin and I saw on our recent trip to Alaska were in the Chugach National Forest, an unimaginably vast area of glaciers, mountains, rainforest, and coastline.
We learned about the huge Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, and its unique bore tide, the only bore tide in the world that occurs in the far north and the only one bordered by mountains (a bore tide is a rush of seawater that returns to a shallow and narrowing inlet from a broad bay). It occurs after extreme minus low tides created by the full or new moon along a forty-to-fifty-mile length of Cook Inlet. And the Turnagain Arm is so named because when Captain Cook sailed this body of water, thinking it would lead him further inland, he had to "turn again" when it didn't.

Located in Southcentral Alaska, the Chugach is the U.S.A.'s most northerly national forest. It is the size of New Hampshire, and one of the few places where glaciers are still carving valleys from the rock of the earth.
The Portage Glacier, above, is so called because it is on an old portage route between Prince William Sound and Turnagain Arm.
A third of the Chugach is bare rock and ice, but the rest is a diverse tapestry of land, water, animals, and plants, such as the fireweed (above), which by its growth announces the approach of the first snowfall every year.

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