We had some beautiful weather this week – sunny, bright and in the low 80’s. Yes, in the 80’s! I came “this close” to turning on the A/C, but hey, I’m in ALASKA , and it just didn’t seem right. We have been well introduced to the local population of mosquitoes, but they haven’t managed to keep us indoors. I’ll catch you up on our projects here soon, but I wanted to share one of the great blessings of being a SOWER –
Three Day Weekends!
Yesterday we celebrated “Saturday One” by taking a local riverboat tour down (up?) the Chena River. The Discovery Riverboat tour had been recommended as a good overview of the area – and it lived up to its recommendations.
We arrived early and for a while thought that we might have this big ol’ paddleboat more or less to ourselves.
But then the tour buses arrived, and we knew “alone” was not a problem we would be experiencing.
The riverboat took us down the Chena River to where it “weds” with the Tanana River. It was only about two miles, but they packed it full of interesting “Alaskan” details.
It started with a bush plane taking off and landing on the river – very cool!
We saw some beautiful riverfront homes
along with a long abandoned marina.
One of the highpoints was a stop at the sled dog kennel of the late Susan Butcher – 4 time winner of the famed Iditarod. She passed away in 2006 (leukemia), but her husband gave us a little sled dog lesson from the shore and then showed us the dogs in action (with the motor-less quad over on the right).
It was fun to see ALL the dogs get incredibly excited about the exercise – and many of the dogs in the kennel watched the sled team the entire way around the track.
We continued down the river (with interesting commentary about the history of the area, houses of interest, and life in Alaska until we reached the Tanana River.
I don’t think you can see it very clearly in the pictures, but since the Tanana is a glacier fed river (and very cloudy in color due to the glacier silt) and the Chena is spring fed (and mostly clear) it was very obvious where the two waters met. (It was also the first time we’d seen the mountains all week! Although there are no mountains right around Fairbanks, we’ve been told that on a clear day you can even see Mt. McKinley! I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens!)
Anyway, back to the boat-
Our big “get off the boat” stop was at a recreated Chena Indian Village.
It could have been a little cheesy, but it was very well done. We learned about how they caught and smoked salmon, utilized the moose and caribou and what their life was like before and after the white man came. One of the most interesting parts was that our guide through the village was a young native American–
And pretty darn cute!
Do you know the difference between a caribou and a reindeer?
Soon we said good-bye to the village –
And returned to twenty-first century Fairbanks (in other words, after our “cruise” we grabbed a bite to eat, hit Sam’s and Safeway and the made it home before the rain started!).
We were treated to horses in the pasture right near our parking spot back at Camp Li-Wa –
I’ll have more to share about Camp Li-Wa later!
(I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know there are a couple more photos from our Saturday One here!