Alaska - Page 1 August, 2004

We took a Princess Company Land Tour / Cruise to Alaska. We flew into Fairbanks in central Alaska and spent two days there. With 33,000 inhabitants, Fairbanks is Alaska's second largest city. It's economy boomed with the 1903 gold rush, the oil pipe line in the 70's, and now with tourism.

We toured on the paddle wheel ship Discovery III (left).

Much commuting is done by bush planes which can take off on very short runways (right).

While on the boat tour, we got a talk and mushing demonstration from Iditarod champion Susan Butcher.

We then saw a demonstration of fish drying at this reconstruction of a native fishing camp. Salmon are caught with the fish wheel driven by the flowing river.

The boat next stopped at a recreated native village showing various dwellings of the central alaskan Athabascan indians over the last several thousand years. At one site, Jesse Royo (sp?), a contender in next year's Iditarod, discussed sled dogs. At the rest of the sites, native Athabascans explained their culture and heritage.

Dixie (below) is famous for creating traditional Athabascan ceremonial clothing such as the coat on the right. Such a coat takes her a year to make. She has one in the Smithsonian's permanent collection.

Dixie's garden with enormous cabbages. Elmeda with dried salmon.


The 4' diameter trans Alaska pipeline stretches 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to the ice free port of Valdez.

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