As you hop on the picturesque Seward Highway heading south on the Turnagain Arm towards the Kenai Peninsula, you’ll drive through a tiny town known as Portage. It’s so small that if you blink, you’ll most definitely miss it. But don’t worry, if you’re feeling confused it’s only because the town really doesn’t exactly exist any longer. You see, when the notorious
1964 Good Friday Earthquake hit, the little boomtown of Portage sunk 6-10 feet into the ground. Although it was impossible to rebuild, nature is now reclaiming this abandoned spot and the end result is actually amazing. Just see for yourself…
The infamous 1964 Good Friday Earthquake devastated transportation routes from Anchorage to Seward, and sunk the earth's surface roughly 6-10 feet in total.
Following the earthquake, a daring rescue on the rail-bridge over Twenty Mile Creek helped keep the line open from Portage to Seward in the days following the natural disaster.
The town of Portage in south-central Alaska was affected horribly by what is now known as the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history.
It is also said to be the second most powerful earthquake recorded in world history.
Today, remaining relics of abandoned horse stables, homesteader cabins, automobiles (and more) stand tattered and torn among the grassy wetland area.
Although over 50 years has passed since the earthquake, historic artifacts still remain in this drive-by town.
The earthquake hit so quickly and did so much sudden damage, even vehicles were left behind to sink with the rest of the rubbish.
Today, many of these relics still remain scattered throughout the old Portage town-site.
During the frosty, frozen months - nature reclaims this abandoned spot in a whole new 'winter wonderland' type of way.
The 'ghost forest' looks a lot less ominous when the piercing glacial beauty lights up the area with the most striking color pallet. This area was nicknamed as the 'ghost forest' when it was killed by saltwater that flooded the roots of all the trees in the sunken area.
The light at the end of the tunnel, perhaps, is the breathtaking way that nature is reclaiming this abandoned spot.
It's impossible to deny the majestic beauty of the towering mountains, glistening glaciers and awe-inspiring wildlife that can be found in the town of Portage.
Although Portage has been through devastating times, the way that nature has reclaimed the area is absolutely phenomenal.
During Alaska's peak summer months, the magnetic pink fireweed that lights up the abandoned town will give you the biggest dose of eye-candy ever.
While visitors can experience this historic spot via personal car or guided motor-coach tour, there are other options that allow you to focus more on nature and less on the road.
Hop on the Alaska Railroad in Anchorage and take it down through Portage for a truly magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
A soft, sandy beach with blue bird skies... it doesn't get more amazing than this!
It truly is incredible to see a place where such devastation occurred be completely transformed into a place where the beauty of nature shines light on the power of new beginnings.
On a clear day, be sure to keep your eyes peeled wide open for hanging glaciers that will surprise you in the distance.
If you happen to get caught up in the allure of the stunning glaciers, turn down the Portage Highway and head towards Whittier. You'll have so many opportunities to view the countless glaciers throughout Portage Valley, it's guaranteed to positively mesmerize you!
Today, many visitors associate the town of Portage primarily with the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.
This non-profit organization is dedicated to conservation, education and quality animal care. They're also dedicated to preserving Alaska's wildlife.
When you visit, you'll be utterly blown away by how up-close-and-personal you'll be able to get with moose, bears, caribou, deer, bison, eagles, wolves and so much more.
This is an exquisite attraction for families, couples and just about anyone on planet earth who has an appreciation for wildlife and Mother Nature.
The next time you make your way through Portage, be sure to take some time to reflect on the history that surrounds you and while you're at it... stop and stay for a while!
Because places this special deserve a little one-on-one time. "It's not about the years in your life, it's about the life in your years." Capture memories, unplug and remember to live in the moment and to be present. Life is too beautiful not to enjoy its magical simplicity!