We spent most of Tuesday morning planning our stay in Fairbanks and deciding when we would go to Denali National Park. We needed to make a commitment in order to make reservations. This was a big deal for us because so far we hadn't made any schedules and were just going day by day.
Liz and Nancy wanted to take a flight seeing tour up to the Arctic Circle and Prudhoe Bay. I considered driving part way just to the Arctic Circle but it would be almost 200 miles one way...much too long for a day trip. Nancy and Liz booked a two night three day trip leaving on Wednesday and returning Friday evening. We were able to book reservations for Denali the following week so we are committed. Pretty scary. I opted to stay in Fairbanks and not go on the flight seeing tour because I would have had to put Sadie in a kennel and finding a kennel on such short notice would have been difficult.
While Liz and Nancy were gone, I had a few days to leisurely see Fairbanks. It is a wonderful little town with a huge community spirit. The downtown area is on the river front and there is a nice river walk along the Chena River. The path starts across the street from where we are staying at the Moose Lodge. Every Wednesday evening and Friday noon free concerts are given in the Central Heart Plaza put on by Festival Fairbanks. There are lots of bicycle routes and I have noticed on my morning walks with Sadie there are lots of people riding bikes to work. I'm not sure what the bicyclists do in the winter when it is 40 below.
There is also a true Farmers Market. Everything has to be made and/or produced in Alaska in order to be sold at the market. There were lots of crafts as well as produce and home made baked goods. It is a little early in the season for fresh vegetables but there was a nice selection of cucumbers, zucchini, different types of lettuce. Most of these were started in a greenhouse and the tomatoes and huge zucchini were grown in green houses. Also, there was a large assortment of different honeys and jams. There were home made breads, pies, cookies, and the like. No commercial stuff here. The crafts included work by some of the Athabascans.
Of all the choices, Bill chose some freshly fried fry bread. He said it was delicious, especially after loading it with sugar and cinnamon.
It seems vegetable gardens in the summer are a must. Almost everyone has some kind of vegetables growing and some in the most unlikely places...as fence borders, in empty lots, on berms. They fish for pike and salmon and hunt for moose, bear, and caribou. These are not hobby activities but a way of life for most Alaskans. Food is expensive, especially during the winter so they grow what they need and hunt and fish.
I took a drive on the Chena Hot Springs road on the way to Chena Hot Springs. The literature I had read said this was prime moose country but there was no moose to be seen o. Bill went along and we decided to hike up to Angel Rocks which is one of the few designated trails in the area. The trail is a 3.5 mile loop rated easy to moderate with a 900 foot elevation gain in the first 1.2 miles. The going was easy...until we made a wrong turn going back on the loop. We took what looked like the most traveled route which turned out not to be the trail at all, but most likely a short cut social trail (there were lots of human footprints) , and extremely steep. Once we got down to the bottom, we could see the real trail intersecting with what we had just been on.
Angel Rocks are huge granite rocks that seem to protrude straight up from the ground.