01 August 2015

Smorgasbord 2!

1 Aug 2015--Got behind in the blog again...these first few pics are from a week ago today, when we went into Denali the day after our bus tour to see the sled dogs they have there.  These dogs are the same breed as the Iditarod race dogs, but a different strain...they are taller and stronger to pull loads and break trails for the Park Rangers in the winter time.

They did a pulling demonstration for us, and we were surprised to see that the dogs were pulling a sled and musher on dirt, but unlike when Ellen and I took a ride elsewhere, the sled had no wheels. Notice how excited the dogs are to get picked to do the pulling in the 1st video...especially the one in the background jumping high in the air in the background.  It's like he thinks if I just jump high enough they will be sure to pick me!  haha

Riding thru the park looking for animals again, we saw this caribou oh so quickly before he disappeared...notice that he doesn't have to go very far into the brush before you can't see his body at all, and from a distance, if all you saw were those antlers, you would just assume it was a bush or small tree.

Our first moose sightings in the park...2 together!

And then another one on the way home...outside the park!

We went "downtown" the next day...cold and rainy...shop to shop, all the same stuff, but it helped pass the day. haha

So on Tuesday , the day before we left, it was cold and threatening rain most of the morning and early afternoon, but Ellen and I decided to take one more ride in the park to see if we could find a male moose...we didn't, but while there we decided to take a 2 mile hiking loop around the river just for something to do.


A little rock climbing...Ellen is coming right along!


We left Denali for Fairbanks on Wednesday, and Cathy caught this "sunrise" at about 5 AM.  It's still not getting totally dark at night, although darker than when we first got here almost 6 weeks ago, so this is the level of sunrise they get in late July.

On the ride to Fairbanks Ellen finally got see her 1st male moose...walking away from us, of course! haha  This is both a male and female...they have an uncanny knack to know that you are trying to take their picture and turning around...ugh!  haha

On Thursday, 30 July, we headed downtown Fairbanks to the Visitor's Center.  Beautiful flowers outside, and that arch is made up of over 100 moose and caribou antler racks.  One of the racks looked like it had very recently be added...still had what looked like dried blood on it...(I spared you the picture!..haha).


Inside the Center they had a few displays that we thought were interesting.  What could be interesting about this Chickadee?  Part of his brain grows and shrinks with the seasons.

And how about this about the Native women and bears?  Seems like in some places you could be doing a lot of hiding due to the amount of bears around you.  haha

Hibernating squirrels?  Their body temps can get down to 27 degrees...lower than a bear's.

I took this pic of a rock hauler for Marie...Marie, do you remember when we saw trucks like these in Utah?  It can carry roughly 480,000 pounds at a time!!!!

Oil is BIG in Alaska...it provides 85% of the state government's budget, and every man, woman and child in Alaska gets a "refund" check every year based on taxes the oil companies pay to the state...this year it was almost $1800 for everyone!!!

This wasn't a display, but I liked the Eskimo look for the ladies room!  haha

Next we drove over to Pioneer Park, a group of old buildings that were part of an old gold mining town, where some of the buildings are now occupied as gift shops, while others are decorated with old furniture, etc.


Each of the buildings had placards telling us their origin.

This was an old Presbyterian church, where they had a listing on the wall inside that said when to kneel, stand, etc. As Catholics, we were interested to see that they had nothing to kneel on...Ellen shows how they go straight to the floor!

Ellen peeking out of the prostitutes house...hoping we won't recognize her?  haha

An old hotel...the windows were very crooked.  Ellen and I sitting outside, just watching the seasons go by!   haha

It was a fairly decent sized town, and even had an old stern wheeler you could go inside the belly of the boat where they had some displays.


Here are mock-ups of a couple towns in the old days...but still exist today.  The first here is Tanana, with a current population of 299 people...it can only be reached by plane or boat, and the people basically are living strictly on a subsistence diet...they grow it or kill it, or they don't eat!!!

And here is Tolovana...population today 13!!!  Also subsistence living! Notice that both of these "towns" are not that far from Fairbanks!!

So we are almost caught up with the blog.  Went hiking and animal hunting yesterday...that blog still to come!


  1. I thought kneeling at Gate of Heaven was tuff!!!! We had a lot of good laughs and made some great memories!

  2. I especially loved the.antler arch and all the flowers. I don't remember that but I think it must have been 35 years since I was there.

  3. The antler arch is wonderful and creative. I love the flowers. The colors and shapes are gorgeous. I find that everywhere I go I take pics of different flowers also. So amazing that there can be so many varieties.
    There is a God in Heaven and you are witnessing some of his best work right now. Lucky you !!!!

  4. I really enjoyed that. Really liked the old cabins,loved the old kitchen. God you could never get bored in Alaska. Look forward to the next one