4 Aug 2015--So although Ellen left to go back home yesterday, we toodled around the last couple days of her visit, with this stop in the town of North Pole, AK being an absolute must on our itinerary!
North Pole is just down the road a piece from Fairbanks, and doesn't seem to have a large population, but it is a real town, with it's own post office, city limits, etc. Aside from this tourist trap, I'm not really sure what anyone else would do for work, but we spent a little while here looking around the shop and even had a short visit with Santa himself.
Inside was a big Christmas store, with lots of ornaments, t-shirts, and the like...but Santa was humoring the adults so we all got our picture taken with him. Ellen and I are trying not to crush the old man, so we are basically suspended above his knee. haha I love the little sayings they come up with for t-shirts, cups, etc.
Outside, right beyond Prancer Lane, we headed over to the reindeer. We have read 2 different things about these reindeer. The first was that a reindeer is nothing but a domesticated caribou, but the 2nd info sheet we saw said they are 2 distinctly different animals and that you can tell this when you get them side-by-side. I don't know...I think I lean towards the same animal, but wouldn't place money on it. haha
These 1st 2 reindeer look pretty normal, but the last 2 pics show one that seems to have had a wild gene or 2 take hold of his antlers. They were going in every direction it seemed...and there were so many of them...he looked really different than all the others. We speculated that maybe he was just really old and maybe that is what happens to them when they age, but there was no one around to ask.
A quick ride around the town beyond the tourist trap store indicates that everyone has bought into the Christmas theme. I was thinking it would really stink to live here, surrounded by all this false cheer! haha I mean, come on, even the street lights??? Is there no end to it? haha
Over we go to the Creamer's Dairy, once a working farm but now a Waterfowl Refuge. None of us are actually the least bit interested in waterfowl (haha), but we were told they had hiking trails with the possibility of seeing moose and/or coyotes, so over we went.
We had seen these cranes before, but not in such a large group. I liked their different color schemes.
Always trying to catch the fireweed from different angles, and another interesting mushroom!
Into the forest we go, where we saw lots and lots of trees, but absolutely nothing else. haha In this 3rd pic you can see how bent some of the trees were...sorta wild looking!!! (Hey! I'm trying to drum up some interest here...you can't blame me for trying! haha).
I sent Ellen up to try to see if she could get us a moose sighting, but she came up empty!
Desperate for something to do, we headed over to the stern wheeler Discovery, which goes out on trips along the river and shows a mock native village, more of the sled dogs, and even a water plane taking off and landing (hahaha). We passed on the tour, but checked out the hotel shop.
These 2 male moose on display were found in October of last year frozen in ice, with their antlers locked in this position. They are such majestic animals, bigger than you can imagine till you stand next to them...it is so sad to think some of them die in such conditions.
After taking pics of "Dancer Lane" in North Pole, we felt we just had to include this picture for Maggie...haha
So we hate to say it, but that's all folks!!! Elvis has left the building!!!
Cathy and I leave today for about a 3 week trip back to the lower 48. Doing the return trip by a different route than we came...next stop, Dawson City...gold rush town extraordinaire!!!