Larry & Cheryl's 2009 Travels travel blog

Larry's favorite photo of our riverfront

A view towards the other end

Chena River cruise on the Sternwheeler Discovery

It's a four deck party boat

A Bush Pilot demos his float plane

He took off from the river in front of the boat

This house is owned by a retired Pilot

This is Frank & Michelle's house on the Chena

Susan Butcher's kennels demo the dogs for us

They were training two new puppies

The team cooled off after a run

The Chena River flows into the Tanana River

The Athabascan Fish Camp

They had a small herd of Reindeer

Young Reindeer

This big fellow had a huge rack

Our guide was explaining the fur and the Cache

Small hunter's cabin in the woods

Our guide in traditional furs, each clan had different designs

Whoa! Is that another Moose sighting?

The sled dogs come over to the camp for a close up...

They were friendly and wanted attention

Such happy dogs

Example of Athabascan Birch Bark Shelter

Inside, all the comforts of home

Birch Bark Canoe

Caribou hide temporary winter shelter

Mens temporary Spruce pole and branch hut

More modern winter cabin

Our paddle wheeler takes us home

Frank & Michelle took us by river to the Pump House for...

After dinner, a little Karaoke, Sonny & Cher

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MPG - 3.93 MB)

Bush Pilot Float Plane

(MPG - 606 K)

Sled dogs returning

(MPG - 3.62 MB)

Athabascan Fishing Wheel


It was a sunny warm day today, just perfect for a trip on the Chena River on the sternwheeler Discovery. The family has a long history of building and running sternwheelers. This one is a good tourist attraction because it adds other elements.

In the past it was able to travel down the Chena and into the Tanana River, but since last winter there has been too much silt deposited creating sand bars so the boat only turned away at the Tanana. You can see where the two rivers come together by the different colors. The Tanana has more glacial melt filled with silt and is cloudy compared to the Chena that was more clear and looked blue.

We were treated to a bush pilot performance, taking off and landing his float plane on the river in front of us.

The Captain narrated comments on the neighbors along the river, and stopped at the Kennels of Susan Butcher’s Iditarod Dogs for a demo by her husband and the other handlers. They hooked up a team and the barking got very loud and excitedas they connected to an ATV and took off running around their lagoon. It all happened so fast I didn’t get the video of the start, but I caught the end of the run. Then they let the dogs loose and they headed for the river to cool off.

Discovery also stopped at the Chena Indian village to see native crafters in action and to learn abut Native Alaskan hunting and fishing techniques at an Athabascan Fish Camp. The guides were real Athabascan natives that are going to U. of Alaska Fairbanks but grew up on their grandfather’s Fish Camps. They explained the shelters, the use of dogs, the Cache to store the food, how their used the skins & furs, and they had several Reindeer. The difference between Caribou and Reindeer is domestication, or as they said “which side of the fence they’re on” and oh yeah, Reindeer can fly.

Afterwards Larry and I were invited to come over to visit with Frank & Michelle again, and they took us on their boat up river to dinner at the Pump House. It was a fun lively place and when we finished our dinner it was just in time for the Karaoke to start. We just HAD to do our Sonny & Cher song for them. It was a great evening.

Share |