Almost 50 years after my great-great-great grandfather and mother met in Yreka when they each pilgrimaged there for the California Gold Rush, that elusive, valuable element was discovered in the wilds of Alaska. As part of our land-based part of the cruise, we got to see the remnants of a gold mining operation and even try to pan some.
We took a bus to a train:
to see a big dredge that still remains outside Fairbanks:
then observed the gold miner in his natural habitat:
and were shown the secrets of how to get the gold out of the paydirt:
I came away with about $7.50 worth of shiny bits:
but personally enjoyed the typical miner’s lunch of stew and biscuits!
On the way back into town, we stopped for a gander at the Alaska Pipeline! It’s REALLY big.
Our next stop was Denali, and we took the scenic train to a bus to see if we could see it, but alas! it was clouded in, as is apparently all too typical:
The surrounding area is quite lovely, though:
and a river braids its way through the valley:
The next morning, I had time to actually find a geocache! Denali Nenana Nexus was just 300 feet from my hotel room, but recent rains had isolated it on a bit of an island in the river.
I made it across, but my cruise roommate, although eager to find her first geocache, did not have the appropriate footwear, so she watched from the shore:
It was an enchanting, foggy morning:
and the forested area along the river was carpeted with moss, which I don’t get to see in the high desert areas of California where I usually hike:
Things were about to take a turn for the worse AND the better. More on that in two weeks, meanwhile, check back here next week for a report on the epic assault on a geocaching world record! The VKs, f0t0m0m, and I will find more than the current record of 407 caches in a 24-hour period this Saturday, August 29, which is also the day I turn 50. I’ll be giving updates that day on Facebook and Twitter. See you there and/or see you here next week!