Yukon Alaska Trip 2018 travel blog

On the train for the Gold Dredge


Fairbanks June 4

Busy day. This morning we took the 3 hour Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler Tour down the Chena River. They provided complimentary coffee and blueberry donuts when we started the tour. We watched a bush plane take off and land on the river. The massive homes along the river were beautiful. We stopped near the kennels of the late 4 time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher and her daughter shared information with us. We got to see the dogs in action, training, by pulling a 4 wheeler with enhanced brakes around the area. We stopped and toured a Chena Indian Village where we learned about the Athabascan Tribe. It was very informative and interesting. We also learned how they dry and smoke salmon and got to see some. We also saw several Caribou up close. The weather was perfect today. It was sunny warm enough for shorts part of the day. On the way back, they provided crackers and salmon dip, made with canned salmon and cream cheese. After the tour, we had an included lunch of beef stew, sourdough rolls, pecan tossed salad, roasted vegetables, iced tea or coffee and a german chocolate brownie for dessert. After that we headed to Gold Dredge 8 main camp. It rained, but only while we were on the bus. We rode a replica Tanana Valley Railroad and saw old machinery including the huge Gold Dredger along the narrated tour. We learned how to pan for gold, and were given a sack of paydirt (gold bearing gravel that is ready for panning). After we were done, they weighed it. Jim got $9 worth and I got $12 worth. It goes for just under $1300 per ounceā€¦ I got a charm to keep our gold in. They provided coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and homemade cookies. We took the train back to the parking area. Then our guide shared information about the Alaskan Oil Pipeline, as it goes by right where we were. It was very interesting. It is also known as the Trans Alaska Pipeline or the Alyeska Pipeline. Pipes are 48 inches in diameter, and are above ground on supports where there is Permafrost, and underground in other places. It runs 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay in the Arctic Circle to Valdez, AK. Jim and I walked down to the ice museum and then the cultural center hoping to see a film of the northern lights, but unfortunately it wasn't scheduled till much later. Early morning tomorrow...

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