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By Steven Merritt Just like checking the hiking box for Flattop Mountain in Anchorage is a must for visitors or newcomers alike to southcentral Alaska, no trip to Whittier would be complete without a side trip on the Portage Pass Trail, which offers access to Portage Lake and unmatched views of Portage Glacier. While the Begich, Boggs Visitors Center in Portage Valley is a great jumping off point to catch a ride on the M/V Ptarmigan for a lake tour to the glacier, earning the view with your feet is a rewarding option. Playing at Portage Lake. Once through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel into Whittier, an access road to the small U.S. Forest Service trailhead is just to the right. The trail ascends some 800 feet in less than a mile before cresting at Portage Pass, where the glacier and lake emerge in a broad panorama. Looking back gives…