Fairbanks Chena Hot Springs Road
While driving up the Chena Hot Springs road, I found myself alone in my truck, beyond everything that represented civilization and nothing except the road itself stood between myself and the pristine etching of winter upon a tranquil landscape of spruce, cottonwood, and birch trees planted randomly by nature, sitting amidst the swelling of the tundra coated with soft fluffy mounds of glazed snow sure to swallow up and impede trespassers of all but the furry wilderness kind. The moose that I saw were busy crunching their favorite willow twigs along the edge of the right of ways, and along the edges of the Chena River over-flows, now still covered with a thick blanket of termination dust. I'm sure there were some brown bear out there as well, but I'm not going looking for them, thank you!
A raven, racing along the skyway of blue, made his presence known, with his wings reverberating the sky in protesting rhythm, declaring this was his residence; and his abrupt flight from his perch made me wonder what other creatures he had seen today from above the park trails.
If you go far enough to the end of the road, you will be at the Chena Hot Springs Resort where both lodging and entertainment is available. A very popular spot for tourists from all over the world, it hosts a spring fed pool, restaurant facilities and even a ice hotel, designed and built to stay frozen all year round.
Upon leaving the forty-mile area, I came across a team of dogsledders, running the snowy trail, as they glided on their teflon runners into the wonderland of the Alaska outback, perhaps headed for the hills that my Silverado could not go: I particularly envied those boys, knowing they could proceed to a visible yet distant cabin perched upon a hill about four miles off the roadway. I dreamily wondered if someone was sitting up there, sipping a cup of hot cider, waiting for the dog-mail delivery to arrive from the little post office at the general store located up the road a piece?
As the far away sunrays filtered into long evening shadows I slowly exited the region, sad to go, as the skies faded gray and my depth of vision lost in the dusk of this February evening, leaving me wistful memories to bring back with me as I re-entered the crowded people zone; indeed, suddenly up the highway came a bus load of tourists who would soon be enjoying the hot springs and its wonders.
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Places to Visit in Fairbanks
Some wonderful places to visit in Fairbanks is the University of Alaska Geophysical institute, the Botanical Gardens, the Musk Ox farm, and all the other great places on University Hill. Lots of small shops and cafes, and trails and scenery is th be found around College Alaska, by the university and you can see evidence of the Alaska permafrost conditions as you slowly drive around Farmers Loop. When you see the black spruce, or wavy road bed, or tilted houses, you will surely know they are effected by the condition known as permafrost, which is frozen strata many hundreds of feet deep underneath the surface. Things can move as much as a dozen or so feet as the frozen ground swells and lifts the crust. some buildings in that area use thermal pipes that are refrigerated in order to keep the ground underneath from thawing and bringing sure disaster. Other places to go include Fox springs, a few miles up the steese highway where water flows freely for use, flowing out of a pipe from a spring and what is not caught and carried away by residents will freeze solid as it moves away into the subzero cold. Of course in the summer it won't accumulate as it does in the winter. Close to Fox is an old Gold mine with many historical relics sitting out for you to see. Oh, on the way you passed the farthest North Ford dealership, so let me ask is the Ford toughest of all automobiles? Ha! I drive a Ford truck ,
On College Road is the Creamers Field Dairy, and the Wildlife Sanctuary, both having interesting contributions to Alaska's History. Artesian waters flow just north,(behind the wildlife preserve, and in the spring and fall you can se many species of Ducks, Geese and other migratory waterfowl, Canadian gee)se, Mallards, Mergansers, Emporer Geese, Mergansers, Pintails, Sandhill cranes, and many more species. You alsos might wander into DOwntown Fairbanks, to see the old buildings, churches, Parts of the old Second Avenue Gold rush days, and of course the Golden Days Parade if you time it right. Still Somewhat pristine Chena River and the 1500 milepost of the Alaska Highway, which reaches south all the way into Canada. More good places to dine, and places to shop and well, make sure you discover it all!.. a few miles to the south you can experience the Santa Claus House, and live reindeer, Candy Cane light poles, historic log cabins and quaint but rustic gift shops in downtown North Pole. On south beyond that is Eielson AFB and the Tanana RIver flats and more outdoors! be sure and stop at the Salcha Gift Cache and see their wildlife display.
If you dare take the 100 mile drive to Delta Junction, you will have driven over many wildlife inhabited rivers, seen much of the Tanana river, seen the Alaska Pipeline a few times, maybe even some moose will be close along the road, and well, let me say this, another adventure begins as this one closes!