The Fairbanks area


Fairbanks in the yellow circle.
 

Our first tourist stop is here at the Ice Museum.
 

Each March, ice carving/sculpting competitors come from all over the world to
compete in the Fairbanks Ice Carving event
 

Some of them are saved, and are included in this Ice Museum.
 

A carved Musk Ox. (The "Bison of the tundra") By the way, Musk Ox is available at a
restaurant that we enjoyed. (No, we didn't try it.)
 

A cold slipper - would it fit Cinderella?
 

A very cold bear emerging from some ice pine trees
 

After the slide show depicting how the ice is cut, then shaped by the competitors,
a demonstration (in a cold room of about 20 degrees) of carving is presented for us.
 

A little bit here...

...and a little bit there...

 

And it starts to take shape
 

He brushes off the ice bits & ice dust...
 

And he presents his ice snail for our enjoyment
 


We next visited and took a trip on the Discovery III, a paddlewheel boat, that took us on a very
interesting, and well presented trip on the Chena River, that runs through Fairbanks.
 

We start down the river, for the first of several educational stops or slow-downs
 

At the first one, we see how a bush pilot takes off from a very short runway.
There is one bush (piloted) plane for every 60 Alaska residents. Highest ratio of planes to residents in the US.

 

Many float planes in this part of the world, servicing the residents (see below)

 

We glided to a stop alongside the Trail Breaker Kennels and home
of Susan Butcher, a four-time Iditarod winner
 

Normally, Susan Butcher, herself would come out to greet us, but she was, on the date of our visit,
in a Seattle hospital with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). (She died on August 5, 2006).
Fellow Iditarod Musher, Clint Warnke, put on a demonstration for us, by hooking
up a team to a 4-wheeler (no engine), which is a way they give the dogs some summer exercise.
 

Here they go...

Off for a run around the lake
 

You can see them on the far side - flat out.
 

Coming around toward the home stretch...
 

Coming in toward the yard
 

In they come

 

Some Caribou  browsing alongside the river bank.
 

As we leave the clear Chena River, and join the glacier silted Tanana River, the difference is obvious.
 

Here we pass by a native Fish Camp. That is a fish wheel in the silted water
which will catch the salmon as they swim upstream
 

Here we are shown the art of preparing/filleting  a salmon for drying (See below),
and then later smoking in the smoke hut, right behind her.

 

Nothing to it - if you have a sharp knife - and know what you are doing
 

The Discovery III comes along shore so we can explore some native cultures.
 

A sod-roofed home

 

Above & below - some protection from the elements while out hunting for Caribou

 

A finely made dress from animal skins
 

This masterpiece (front: above, rear: below) was made by the lady on the far right

 

We see some sled dogs close up
 

Modeling the foul weather gear
 

All you need for a life of comfort on the river.
 

Now a demonstration of the float planes take-off

up up, and....

.... Away

We ease into our dock, just past the two smaller sternwheelers, Discovery I & II
 

The pontoons for the dock consist of surplus Alaska Pipeline sections.
 

Done for the day


At a very nice restaurant along the river - The Pump House. We recommend it.
Where we can watch ...

... a dinner cruise sternwheeler pass by down the river as we enjoy our meal.
 


During a visit to the University of Alaska - Fairbanks campus - museum,
 we see a delightful model of the traditional blanket toss used to help look for seals and whales.
 

At the museum, we also are able to see two Inuit natives demonstrate some of the activities
that take place during the
World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, held every year in Fairbanks.
These two young ladies were both 1st & 2nd place winners in their particular sport.
By the way, the one in the air, is enrolled in Dartmouth this next fall, and will major in Medicine & Biology.
 


A trip to the El Dorado Gold Mine brings us by various mining
equipment and methods of recovery.
 

Just shake some dirt around in a pan, and .....
 

Look what you get? There is Gold In Them There Hills.
 

Of course if you are REALLY lucky !!!!
 

A real find - but not for us.
 

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