Life at North Pole

santa-claus North Pole sounds like it should be just north of Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska. Actually it’s just 15 miles southeast of Fairbanks, and 140 miles from the Arctic Circle.
North Pole is VERY Christmasy. A giant Santa Claus greets us as we enter town (about 3 miles from our camp spot), the light poles are all painted like candy canes.
We can truly say June 21 was the longest day of our life. At least if you count a day by daylight hours. We had nearly 22 hours of daylight. We have not seen any reindeer flying around, however.
connie-planting We enjoy working around the Chena Lakes Flood Control Project (yes…quite a long name) and getting to know the two rangers, both single and in their twenties. Although Jake, the senior ranger, is getting married in July.
Connie loves to plant stuff and has planted over $700 worth so far. The good part is COE (Corp of Engineers) pay for them. The bad part is that there are many places and most have to be watered by hand. Gives her daily stuff to do. Note the Polaris Ranger that serves as our transportation around the project.
Ed-mowing Ed is learning the skill of the Zero Turn mower. He has several large pieces to mow, so he’s enjoying the challenge.
Mills-trailer-spot Our Friends, Cliff and Cyndy Mills, are also serving here as hosts. Their site is nearly 5 miles from our site. Cliff also has a large area to mow. They monitor the kiosk, parking, gate, and toilet. They are a stone’s throw from the Chena dam and river. If Cliff wasn’t having rotator cuff issues, he could probably test if it really is a stone’s throw.
MooseCreekDamChenaMapSitesThe dam (really resembles a levee, but the Corp guys don’t like that term) is 7.1 miles long. Normally the Chena River flows freely through the dam gates, but the dam (levee) becomes very relevant during high  water events; keeping down river Fairbanks from flooding again. The rangers don’t have a good story as to why the dam is named Moose Creek dam, when it’s on the Chena, and Moose Creek a mile away and doesn’t flow into the Chena.
Normally, all the green on the map behind the dam (levee) is grass and has many different recreational uses. Many folks bring their hunting dogs to train.

connie-pipeline Can you believe it? Connie holding up the Alaska Pipeline! One of the places near Fairbanks where the pipeline is above ground.  Overall, about 1/2 of the 800 mile pipeline from Prudhoe bay to Valdez is above ground.

AlyeskaSign We have learned to appreciate all that went into the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Absolutely incredible. A buried portion of the pipeline actually runs under our driveway from the road to our site! The term Alyeska pipeline is used more here as they are the firm that actually built the pipeline and now maintains it.
Fox village is about 15 miles north of Fairbanks on the Steese highway. There is a pullout on the road to observe the above ground Alaska pipeline (where Connie is holding it up).
The Silver Gulch Brewery is in Fox; boasting the furthest north brewery in the United States. They have great beer and a fine menu. Although we’ve learned that prices in Alaska are half again what we’d pay in the lower 48.
We joined friends Cliff & Cyndy, along with Cyndy’s son David and his fiancee Christine on a fantastic stern wheeler cruise down the Chena River on Tuesday June 23.
PumpHouse BushPilot ButcherSledDogs Didn’t see a lot of wildlife, but many beautiful homes. We cruised by the Pump House Restaurant, and vowed to have dinner there on the river later that evening.
We all enjoyed the bush pilot take off and land on the river. While it was all staged for the passengers, it was never the less a fun experience.
One of the highlights was seeing the Susan Butcher sled dog training facility. Susan won the Iditarod 4 times, but life was cut short from Leukemia in 2006. Her daughter Tekla, and husband Dave Monson (also a musher) continue to train sled dogs. They demonstrated how they train the dogs in the summer by having them pull a 4 wheeler (engine removed).
chena-Tanana The end of the cruise is where the Chena flows into the Tanana. The Tanana is a glacier fed river and is somewhat milky. Quite interesting to see where the two rivers join.
(Visited 355 times, 1 visits today)


Life at North Pole — 2 Comments

  1. I loved this blog post! Even though I was there it was fun to see it all again through your eyes. You guys have a great life “streaming around!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *