Saturday, August 15, 2015

Outside Fairbanks

Fairbanks 2015-08-13 1 (Chena River)

Fairbanks, Alaska, is a gritty little city. 35 or 40,000 people within its boundaries, twice that in the borough, the equivalent of a county in most of the US. It sits on the edge of a broad plain between the Alaska and Brooks mountain ranges. The surrounding country is taiga, the scrubby spruce and birch forest below the tundra that sweeps across Russia, Alaska and Canada, There is permafrost a few feet under the surface. The trees grow very slowly. They cannot sink their roots far and it's just too damn cold and dark half the year. The locals told us they have periods of -50F/-46C every winter. Yet, they insist, they get out and do things and don't let the weather stop them. There is a sizable university. I think they are bloody crazy.

Not much to do except to claim that you've been there, pretty close to the Arctic Circle, and visit the spectacular Museum Of The North at the university. For some fun, we booked a tour with a van ride to a restaurant 24 miles out of town. It was okay if not memorable. Then our van driver, Larry, took us 12 miles further up the Chena River that goes back to town. Larry, on the left in the first picture, was just a little strange. We floated for an hour back past fly fishermen to the restaurant owner's home (off the grid, as they say) where we had an interesting talk about life in the area.

That's your intrepid travelers in the front of the boat. I'm writing this at nearly 11 PM Alaska time in the Anchorage airport. 19 hours and two plane changes from now we will be home.                  
Fairbanks 2015-08-13 2 (Chena River)

Fairbanks 2015-08-13 3 (Chena River)

8 comments:

U "R" Us AKA Captain Crowe said...

I get the sense that a lot of folks up there are just a lil strange...

Birdman said...

How did you manage to finagle front row seating? Get wet?

Lynette said...

Bob, I've enjoyed this post quite a bit. When I was in Fairbanks, it was for supper, sleep, breakfast, board the train to Anchorage. All I remember is that my friend flew off with her cousins on some little plane to go inside the Arctic Circle to a native village. With my motion sickness, I opted for the motel room instead, thank goodness. She said that was one of the hottest experiences of her life, being in that tiny cockpit. I watched the NBA finals on the TV, seems like San Antonio might have been playing. Anyway, I couldn't get over how light it still was whenever I peeked through the curtains. She got back around midnight, still light outside. This was our last night of a Holland America cruise tour which was a fantastic experience. Thanks for igniting my memories with your post!

William Kendall said...

I would absolutely love to visit Alaska- repeatedly!

Sharon Anck said...

I LOVE that photo of the two of you in the boat and I do agree with you about living there.....crazy.

Norma Beishir said...

Carolyn got in that raft? I'm amazed!

GreenComotion said...

I liked the 3rd photo in particular!
Glad you had a nice visit to AK!
Have a Beautiful Day!
Peace :)

Stefan Jansson said...

I see you.