Our 2006 Alaskan Cruise/Tour

Page 8

We took a cruise on the Chena River (it flows through Fairbanks) on this stern paddle wheeler. The next few shots are some of what we saw on that cruise. The trip was narrated over a PA system and all the demonstrators on the shore could talk over the same PA system. It made the whole cruise very informative.

This is a recreation of an Athabaskan fish camp. The contraption in the water is a fish wheel. The salmon would get trapped in the baskets as they swam upstream and get dumped into a holding pen. The woman (in the lower shot) would split and gut them and hang them in a smoker to dry. Salmon were a winter source of protein for the natives. It still is for many subsistence people in Alaska.

On of the amazing things about Alaska is the number of backyard airstrips. We even passed through an entire neighborhood in Anchorage where all the backyards were linked by an airstrip and every yard had a plane.

This is where Susan Butcher trained her dogs for the Iditerod races. Dogs are still raised and trained here. We saw a demo of the dogs pulling an ATV. They must have had the ATV going 20 MPH by the time they left the yard. There were about 100 dogs there and it was a bedlam of barking until the ATV actually left.

These are not caribou. They are reindeer imported from Europe. Reindeer meat became a major red meat food in Alaska. They are bigger than caribou and are domesticated.

We went ashore in a recreated Indian village. Here a young lady is showing a papoose cradle. The cradle was lined with absorbent moss. When the baby pooped, it was just shaken out and new moss added. Voila: No mess and biodegradable.

This young lady is showing a hand made beaded dress. It was made by the "fish lady" in a previous picture. This is a museum quality piece and would sell for thousands of dollars.

We went to the U of A museum one day. It was full of interesting bits of Alaska history, culture, and wildlife. This shot is a bit fuzzy and so was this bear. He was almost 8 feet tall! They grow bigger when they live near a reliable salmon source.

One final picture: Mary Ann with the Alaska State Flower: The Forget-Me-Not.

It will be a long time before we forget Alaska!!

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