Taking a tiny seaplane from the Anchorage coast, we flew over the beautiful snow covered hills of Denali and water-landed in a small reserve unpopulated except for native wildlife. In the tucked away hills of the reserve, I felt a freedom never experienced before. The sight itself was beautiful; the warm colors of the water splashed against the bright and intoxicating view of the mountains surrounding us. The air was sweet and crisp, and the only sounds were of a comforting wind rustling the grass and whistling between the hills.
To stand there, feeling completely and totally at peace, was an experience unparalleled in my world travels and when I close my eyes I can still conjure the memory rich with detail. Sometimes I find myself aching for the full and contented feelings of beauty that day; wishing I could stand there once more, alone but not lonely, if only for a moment.
Every year on June 21 at midnight there is a baseball game at the Growden Memorial Park in Fairbanks, Alaska without artificial lights. The city team are Goldpanners and they always play this game. It's amazing how sunlight at midnight lights the baseball stadium and it ends up being a very fun game. It is celebrated as a huge party and when it ends in the wee hours of the morning, because there is still so much sunlight to be enjoyed.
Alaskan passenger trains only run in the summer as, in the winter, the train is only used to transport goods. Making the trip by train to Fairbanks in the summer though is a must-do because it's a beautiful trip with amazing views. There are so many things that just can't be seen if you're driving to Fairbanks. The train is very comfortable and there´s a restaurant and souvenir shop.
This cruise is not very long, but it is certainly fun. The boat is from 1950 and the Binkley of Fairbanks family are the ones who now run the activities of the boat. It passes slowly through the Chena and Tanana Rivers.The views are beautiful and you see many animals along the river banks.
Susan Butcher was one of the first women to win the annual dogsled race named the Iditarod. She was a very famous woman in Alaska because she won the race 4 times before she died of cancer. Today her husband David Munson has the house open to the public for people to see how they raised and trained sled dogs. He and his daughters have a show with the dogs and it is great fun.
It is moose paradise. It is almost impossible to drive through the park and not see moose, either grazing on grass or in the ponds. It is also a terrific place to camp or canoe on the mostly placid Chena River. The place – the Chena River State Recreation area, is a hidden gem in Alaska.
Situated 30 miles north of Fairbanks the park is beautiful any time of year, but is extra special in the fall when the aspen trees turn a fiery shade of gold. There are thirteen hiking trails in the park, my favorite being the Chena Dome hike that takes you to some massive granite tors.
If you are brave enough to visit Alaska in winter, the area is also perfect for snow machining and cross-country skiing.
If you're ever in Fairbanks do this! A once in a lifetime chance to join a reindeer herd and play reindeer games. This is not a pen visit, it's walking with the herd. Open all year long, by appointment.