Why did he have to be right on this one? I chose the shortest train ride available, on Saturday, to take my visiting parents on. Steve was conflicted about leaving Pongo in the car, in Portage our departure depot to Grandview because “something could happen” that would delay us. It was a four hour train ride out and back. I assured him Pongo would be fine-in the hundred or so train rides I was on while serving and tour guiding for Princess Tours, we only were delayed a couple of times. Everything was going to be fine.
We left Portage and made our way up to Spencer Glacier, our first stop. The views were gorgeous despite the less than ideal weather.
We dropped off about half the train load at Spencer Glacier and continued onward to Grandview. All of a sudden we slowed to a crawl. We overhear talk on the radio that there’s a black bear up ahead. We plaster ourselves against the windows in hopes of catching a glimpse of the bear. The train continues to creep around a corner and then stops.
We sit for quite awhile watching the bear and snapping pictures. I thought, “How nice of them to give us so much time to bear watch.” Steve then made the comment, “Something’s wrong.” I retorted with, “No, nothing’s wrong. They are just giving the tourists the ultimate Alaska experience.”
“Well, folks I’m going to be completely honest with you, and this has never happened before…we’ve run out of fuel.”
WHAT?!? How can you run out of fuel? Ooohhhh…someone is going to be in big trouble for not doing his/her job!
We sit for awhile, continuing to watch the bear who is giving us quite the show while the railroad figures out what to do. Their first idea was to drop one of the cars so our car could be pulled up to Grandview but they decided they didn’t have enough power with just one engine to do that. So, back to Spencer Glacier we coasted.
Once we returned to Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, we were told we had a couple hours to walk around while the railroad sent an engine from Anchorage. Our directive was to be back by 5:00 PM. I really hoped that they could get an engine to us quickly-our boy was sitting in the car, waiting for us!
We unloaded and began the 1.3 mile hike to Spencer Lake. As we were walking we all realized that it felt good to get out, stretch our legs and walk to an absolutely gorgeous lake with front seat views of Spencer Glacier.
Fortunately, the railroad was able to get an engine to us quickly and we were on our way to Portage. We ended up being only an hour late and Pongo was just fine. And even though we didn’t make it to our final destination, we all agreed that things worked out for the best as we were able to experience an amazing piece of Alaska.