Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog

antler arch

on the golf course

river view

The Chena River flows through Fairbanks. Our campsite is right on the bank and in this warm summer weather it is busy with folks sailing, rowing, kayaking, and ski-dooing along with the swift current. It is so pleasant to sit on our lawn chairs and watch them go by.

But since this is the first real city we've been to in a long time, we had chores to take care of. Searching for a reasonably priced place to get hair cuts is often a challenge in an unfamiliar town with none of the franchise places we patronize in the lower 48. We ended up at Walmart, paying about 60% more than we do at home. Ken's phone went berserk when we entered Alaska from Canada. He was able to restore many functions through iTunes, but is unable to use it as a phone or connect with 3G service. When he phoned Verizon on my phone in Haines, he was told it could be restored once we got to Fairbanks. But now we found out that there is nowhere in Alaska where Verizon has a presence. The Verizon rep suggested he jump on a plane and fly to Washington state to get reactivated. You've got to be kidding!!! So we bought a $10 phone at the grocery store with a pay as you go plan for occasions when we are separated. Very frustrating! That grocery store, Fred Meyer, is an Alaska favorite and as well stocked as anything we find at home. We need some non cotton clothing for a rafting trip we are taking and they had everything we needed for a low price. Not surprisingly, their seafood selection was fantastic.

But the highlight of the day was playing golf at the North Star Golf Club, the northernmost golf course in America. It boasts: "North Star is the only golf course which includes an animal checklist on its scorecard. Our open terrain attract a large variety of native Alaskan species. Animal hazards include moose, fox, marmot, hare, raven, eagle, sandhill crane, red backed vole, muskrat, coyote, kestrel and marsh hawk. The red backed voles colonize the deep rough, attracting a host of small predators such as hawks, owls, eagles, and red fox. Sandhill cranes watch you putt. Trumpeter swans have been seen recently. It is rare to see a lynx, however one was spotted in 2001 stalking (and catching) ducks in the ponds scattered throughout the course and in 2011 catching a snowshoe hare. Moose are often seen in the wetlands near the back 9, usually late in the day or early morning. " When we finished playing at 10pm the day was still bright and a gentle breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay. We were so busy trying to find our balls, we didn't notice much in the way of wildlife. A month away from playing didn't do our game any good, but what a memorable way to celebrate the solstice.

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