Fairbanks may not be your typical large city, but it is an important one. You don’t find too many cities with multiple entry points in Alaska. For example, in Juneau, the state’s capital city, you can only get there by sea or air. Fairbanks, on the other hand, is a major supply hub connecting remote communities in the surrounding area to the outside world.
I mentioned in the last post that we came across a couple war memorials and that I’d find out from Jen, our Tour Director for the duration of the land tour what the association is concerning this. That’s the beauty of having a local guide. Just ask away! Jen gave us a really good history lesson.
Because of Alaska’s strategic location, the military constructed roads, communications and airfields in Alaska. And because Fairbanks is a major hub to other parts of Alaska, it was a distribution point for materials.
Our second day in Fairbanks was relaxing, I’d say. We started off with an informative yet entertaining and engaging Sternwheeler cruise on the Chena River. Did you know that Fairbanks is just shy of technically being a desert? That’s how little rain the area receives and the range in temperature is vast at 90°F in the summer to -60°F in the winter. We saw some beautiful homes along the river. What a view of the northern lights they have come wintertime!
We headed to a recreated Athabascan village where we saw how they used to live a 100 years ago. Youth commentators there were impressive! They were of Athabascan descent and very well spoken. Did you know Athabascans were a nomadic tribe? It wasn’t until when European settlers arrived that they started building and living in permanent residences like the one we visited.
We also learned about how to filet and smoke salmon. Did you know that salmon in the ocean is more desirable? It’s packed full of the healthy fats we need as well as Omega 3. Once it reaches the river, all this has nearly depleted.
After the Chena River, we had time for lunch on our own back in downtown Fairbanks before heading off to Pioneer Park. The Park a great place to learn more about the city’s history. There’s an air museum, train museum, pioneer museum and even a building that had a gallery of beautiful quilts. The highlight here for me, though, was the Salmon Bake. It wasn’t only salmon you got either! There was prime rib as well as halibut. It was some of the best salmon I’ve ever tasted. Just melted in my mouth! Mmm mmm good!