Up and Down a Lazy Alaska River

21 08 2009

This was my first cruise. I’d been on choir tours before, and I really enjoyed my adventure on the Green River last summer with that group, but this one served to reaffirm my aversion in general to tours. One of the main reasons for this is that I’m just too independent. I value setting my own schedule and pace, and I found this one to be somewhat relentless from the get go. We were up early each morning to catch a bus or a train or a bus to a train or a train to a…. you get the idea.

The second day of our tour, I was still fresh, and although it was a long and interesting day (and will take up TWO blogs to tell you all about it), it was exhausting. I also did not have any time for geocaching, either! The frustrating thing was that there’s a cache placed just up the road from where we started our day’s adventures by cachers from So. Cal!

Geo-Ranger Pirate
Sorry, Team Georangers! I had intended to grab it when we got back to the shopping area, but we were rushed back on to the dang bus!

There were no geocaches at the other two touristy stops we made that day, so… with all of your indulgences, this week’s entry will be about enjoying Alaska withOUT the benefit of geocaching, but I will more than make up for that in the first week of September, when I will report on what should be a record-breaking day in the Denver area with f0t0m0m and the Ventura Kids! Stay tuned….

Meanwhile, back at the riverboat….

We boarded this little beauty after breakfast at the hotel for a lazy morning's float down to the Chena native village and back.

We saw some nice homes along the river, like this one with the back porch on the dock:

and some older, er, not-so-nice:

This car doesn’t look all that old, but the grass has really taken over in the summer!

Probably the most significant site along the way was Susan Butcher’s home. She was the winningest musher in Iditarod history, and her daughters and others continue her tradition with dogs from the winning lines.

They were all excited:

and some got to show us their stuff by pulling a tractor!

At the native village, we saw some beautiful handmade historical clothing. The designs tell who the wearer is and where she is from:
Here’s a link to more information on the village:
Chena Native Village

The air was saturated with smoke from nearby lightning-based forest fires, and worse than I’ve ever observed in California. I found a quiet corner to watch the river:

I also got this video of a salmon trap and how it works, efficiently and humanely… well… then you EAT ’em!

Back at the riverboat dock, we had 15 minutes to use the facilities and check out the inevitable gift shop where one could purchase such handy things as Ulu knives:

Also inside was a display about Susan Butcher:

and a “cold room”. For $10, one can experience 40º below 0 temperatures for a few minutes. Most of our tour group was from North Dakota, however, so that was pretty much ignored! Ha!

Next week I’ll highlight the flora and fauna, some gold, and a really big pipe. Until then, enjoy your last days of summer caching!

OH, and here I am in tourist central, grinning and bearing it, as it were!




2 responses

25 08 2009

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6 09 2009

I read this book by Jack London when I was a youngster. “The Call of the Wild”. Ever since, my greatest dream has to been to visit Alaska. I want to do it on a dog sled, up the Kodiak, to the Yukon. Hell, let’s get Canada, without a passport.

Elin, I’m sorry that your trip was so regimented. On the other hand, you went to Alaska.
You go Girl!

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