Trip Start Jun 12, 2014
61Trip End Aug 15, 2014
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July 2, 1902, Felix Pedro found gold and started stampede. Rookie gold panners coming into Alaska were referred to as Sourdough
Our next tour was aboard the Discovery III Paddle boat by Binkley & Barrington. Binkleys have been running freight on Tanina and Chena Rivers for over 106 years. This tour goes up the Chena River, and depicts current river life, and then to Chena Village to show the history of the Athabaskans.
Bush planes only need 200 ft of runway, tires hold 7-10 pounds of air, and can be adapted for winter with skis. Technology from the 30s -50s. 1 out of 60 Alaskans have a pilots license.
We stopped at Susan Butchers Trail Breaker kennel, winner of the Iditerod 4 years, before succumbing to leukemia in 2006
The Chena runs into the Tanana River, the worlds largest glacial fed River. Even through it looks muddy, it carries silt from the glacier. Rivers rise every summer, covering the many sand bars, making the river tricky to navigate.
King, silver and sockeye salmon for people eating. Chum salmon for dogs. Indian-Eskimo families still set up fish camps. Families would set up tents to live in, fish wheels to catch salmon. Once filleted, the salmon is dried for four hours, then smoked for two weeks.
The Athabaskan Indians have lived in Alaska for 10,000 years. Known as a nomadic tribe, they moved following the routes of caribou, as they traveled in herds, while moose were loners. Every part of the animal was used, from fur, meat, rawhide strips for sewing and lashing, bones for implements. When the Athabaskans moved, they took everything with them. Their festive dress was always decorated to reflect the region they were from. Aside from caribou, small animals were also hunted for their pelts- wolf, fox, ermine and mink.
After the Discovery boat tour, we drove to North Pole, and actually got to visit with Santa Claus, who was taking a break from his workroom.