Beaver Creek to Kluane Lake, Yukon with Colorado Traveling Ducks

This was a great traveling day.   We didn’t travel several hundred miles, but we saw animals and a huge gold pan.   Leaving Beaver Creek, the most western Canadian community, our first stop was to see the world’s largest gold pan.

World’s largest gold pan

Here we are in Burwash Landing, Canadian Yukon.   This gold pan is 21 feet in diameter and features a gold miner panning for gold.   The picture of the gold miner is painted occasionally.   The last time was about 10 years ago.   It could use a new painting.   We  saw the Kluane Museum of History; not open while we were there.

Kluane Museum of History

Outside we enjoyed a great display of life after fires.   After fires, small plants and trees begin to emerge, attracting insects and small animals.   Then larger vegetation and larger animals.   The circle of life is regenerated after forest fires.

Outdoor museum

Also there is the outdoor exhibits of original buildings.   Burwash Landing was the traditional home of Southern Tutchona Athabascan Indians and was their summer camp.   In the early 1900’s, a trading post was established here by the Jacquot brothers.   Of course, for a short time gold mining was a major source of income.   We enjoyed the statues around the museum area.

Working on tractor

The tractor was rather surprising, but we liked it.   Food must be grown everywhere.   Burwash Landing, according to the 2011 census, has a population of 90 permanent residents.

Lake Kluane

Located on the southern shores of Kluane Lake, Burwash Landing is the administration center of the Kluane First Nation people.   Continuing down the Alaska Highway, we were happy to see this grizzly bear.

One grizzly bear

Isn’t she wonderful?  But wait.

Three grizzlies.   And motorcycle

Not one grizzly, but three.   Mom and her two cubs.   They stopped to roll and play in the road.   Then to the lake.

Mom and cubs heading to Kluane Lake. Bath time

After crossing the road, they approached Kluane Lake.   Here they will bathe and have a short swim in the cold Kluane Lake.

Kluane Lake

The few other vehicles that were on the road also stopped to watch this fabulous grizzly bear family.   Continuing south on the Alaska Highway, we soon reached Thachal Dhal Visitor’s Center.

Thachal Dhal Visitor’s Center

Unfortunately the Visitor’s Center had not yet opened for the season.   Most places on the Alaska Highway open in mid or late  May.   But there are enough motels, campgrounds and restaurants that are open year round that travelers can be comfortable any time.   Winter in the far north is the determining factor for most tourists, and when they want to travel.  Last year we stopped at the Thachal Dhal Visitor’s Center.   It is very interesting and definitely worth a stop.   It is a great place to see the Dall Sheep, during spring and fall.

Dall Sheep on mountain side

We did see some Dall Sheep on the mountain side.   They are fun to watch as they run and jump around the rocky mountain areas.   Also on our drive, we saw three caribou or reindeer playing in the woods by the road, and a moose in a lake, too far away for a photo.   We love seeing all the animals, the lakes, snow capped mountains and very little traffic.   We hope you drive the Alaska or Alcan Highway in late May or early June.   It is beautiful.

Leaving Fairbanks and Alaska with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

We are heading home??  What?? There is so much more to see.   We ducks do not want to go home yet.   Our moms say, don’t worry.   We will stop often on the way home to see different things than last year.   And a few of our favorites that we want to experience again.   OK.  Leaving Chena Hot Springs, our first stop is Salcha, Alaska at The Knotty Shop.

The Knotty Shop.

This is a great store, featuring items made in Alaska.   The name, Knotty Shop, comes from the knots or bumps (burls) on the trees.   Last year we stopped here so you can read more about it in older posts.   This year we purchased some clothing, t-shirts, sweats, and socks.   Also another Ulu knife.   A hand carved wooden basket, jewelry, Alaskan made jam and, of course, ice cream cones.  Lots of time shopping, so we spent the night at Alaska Steakhouse and Motel in Delta Junction, Alaska.

Alaska Steakhouse and Motel in Delta Junction, Alaska

At Delta we officially began driving on the Alaska Highway.

Heading southeast on Alaska Highway toward Canada

Beautiful scenery as we head toward the Canadian Yukon Territory.   We stopped at roadside rest areas often.

Roadside pullout. Great areas for walking and enjoying scenery.

Stopped to appreciate the breathtaking views.   Also, Chloe likes to get out of the car and do a little exploring.   So do the humans.   While driving, as we completed a curve in the road we startled a black bear and he ran down a path into the woods.   He was so cute to watch.   Of course, too fast to get a photo.   We arrived in Tok, Alaska, the last Alaskan town on the Alaska Highway.

Burnt Paw gift shop. Tok, Alaska

Our first stop was the Burnt Paw.   This is a great gift shop, a snack area, motel with cabins, and source of eqipment for dog sleds.

Tok, Alaska. Burnt Paw

Isn’t this a great dog sled at the store entrance?  More shopping.  Souvenirs, gifts and treats for Chloe.   Next stop in Tok was Fast Eddies.

Fast Eddies in Tok, Alaska

We stopped for food and it was delicious.   Since it was Mother’s Day, Fast Eddies was treating mothers to free dessert cupcakes.

Mother’s Day complementary dessert from Fast Eddie

We had Red Velvet and Lemon Meringue cupcakes.   Very tasty and we enjoyed them.   Thanks Fast Eddie!  Continuing toward the Yukon, we crossed the Tanana River a few times.

Tanana River in Alaska

We like this river.   You may remember last June we rode on the Tanana River while on Riverboat Discovery in Fairbanks.  We have arrived in the Yukon.

Enter Canada’s Yukon Territory

We cleared US and Canadian customs.   We stayed in Beaver Creek in the Yukon.   Beaver Creek RV and Motel was our home for the night.  Camping is a very popular way to travel but we prefer to stay in hotels.   At the campground we did enjoy these carved statues of early pioneers.

Historic figures in campground

The Visitor’s Center is across the street.

Yukon Visitor’s Center

The lady there was very friendly.   She even invited Chloe, Soapy Smith Duck’s dog, to come inside.  She likes dogs and told us about her sled dogs.   She told us much about Beaver Creek now and about Beaver Creek in the past.   Very interesting.   She suggested we stop at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.

Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church built around quonset hut

Isn’t it a quaint little church?   This church was built around a quonset hut left over from the days of the Alaska Highway construction.   Please take a little time to explore any town you visit.   We always find some interesting and unexpected things.

Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs, Alaska with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Today is a nice day, in the 50’s, but we are going into the Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs, near Fairbanks, Alaska.   Chena Hot Springs, located 60 miles from Fairbanks, is a year round destination.   Today we will show you the Aurora Ice Museum.

Aurora Ice Museum

Made of over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all havested at the resort, the Aurora Ice Museum opened in January 2005 and is still frozen.   You can visit with a guide only and the inside temperature is 25 degrees F (-7 degrees C).   For much of the year, inside the Aurora Ice Museum is warmer than the outside temperature.   Our guide opened the door, admitting us and our group to a small room.   Here we put on parkas, free for our visit inside.   Opening the next door, we are ready to go inside.

Entering through second door

There are many ice sculptures.

Ice sculpture

Most of them are lit, colors reminding us of the Aurora, or Northern Lights, visible only in the winter.   The lights in the sky are not visible in the summer, as it does not get dark enough.  The interior ice walls are also carved.

Interior ice wall

The walls, everything within the museum and the museum itself are all made of ice.   There are many ice sculptures.

Ice sculpture. Jousting

Jousting forms in ice here.   Face of ice.

Ice sculpture

Inside the ice museum are a few bedrooms to rent.

Entrance to bedroom

Let’s enter one of the rooms.  Intricate bed.

Ice bedroom

Yes, that really is a bed made of ice.   Lots of furs and blankets needed to sleep here.

Another bedroom. Ice bed

And another room.

Ice bed in different light

Let’s see this bed without the effect of colored lights.  We loved seeing this place, but we don’t want to sleep here.   It could be exciting, but we think it might be too cold for small ducks.   Heading back toward the entrance, we stop at the ice bar.

Aurora bar with ice bar stools.

Of course the bar is of ice.   The bar stools also are ice, but with fur cushions for more comfortable sitting.   Appletinis are available from the bar.   They are served in these ice glasses.

Martini glass made of ice. Yours with purchase of martini

You purchase the drink and the glass is yours.   To leave, we must be escorted back to the small room where we return our parkas, and then out the front door.   The Aurora Ice Museum is fascinating, but pretty cold.   The doors must be kept locked at all times to insure the proper temperature to preserve the ice.   There are world recognized ice sculpturers on staff here.   They are usually making new sculptures and also making many ice glasses.  You really should see this when you are in the area.   This is a great Alaska place to see.

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Chena Hot Springs, discovered in 1905, is about 60 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska.

Chena Hot Springs Resort

The resort at the hot springs has so much to offer guests.   After leaving Fairbanks, we decided to spend a couple days here.   The main attraction for us was sitting in the hot water.

Entrance to hot springs pool and hot springs rock lake

This is the entrance to the hot springs indoor pool.   In the pool area you can access hot tubs.   If you forgot, swimming suits and pool sandals are for sale at reasonable prices.   Also, follow the enclosed walkway to an outdoor hot tub and to our favorite, the rock lake.

Hot Springs Rock Lake

The water in the rock lake varies from about 103 degrees to 106 degrees.   Move around the lake and you will find your perfect temperature.   We loved sitting in the lake.   We saw a couple reindeer on the surrounding mountain side.   There are other activities for guests.   You can join an ATV tour.

ATV tours here

ATVs are fun.  Younger humans enjoy this playground.

Playground for small humans

And this tower of antlers is so Alaskan.

Antlers

We enjoy seeing things that are not in our yard in Colorado.   It is difficult and expensive to find good fresh vegetables here most of the year.

Greenhouse. Fresh salads were delicious

So the resort uses this greenhouse and garden to grow most of their own vegetables.   Our fresh salads were delicious.   Near the greenhouse the ducks enjoy a small pond.

Ducks by pond and greenhouse

We love seeing our feathered relatives when we travel.  There are many trails to hike, a location for gold panning, two souvenir shops, a snack shop and a restaurant.

Creek through resort

We enjoyed this creek passing through our resort.   Guests can stay in the main lodge, in multi room cabins, or yurts.   Camping sites are also available.   We stayed in a cabin.

Our cabin. Number 98

We were cabin 98.   Soapy, Chloe and their mom stayed in a front room.   Mom and I stayed in a rear room.   We liked the yurts.

Yurt with really tall trees

Aren’t these trees tall?  From our cabin window we could see a wild, wooded area.

Pretty pond

The path through the area took us to this small lake.   Also a few reindeer, or caribou, lived here.

Reindeer or caribou at Chena Hot Springs resort

This is a protected area for the wildlife.   In May it was still rather chilly.

Stilll partially frozen in May

This lake had not thawed yet.   We liked the snow and ice on part of the lake.   But, it was spring in the far north and although the ice and snow were not all gone, there were many hours of daylight.   Sunrise was 4:43 a.m. and sunset was 10:54 p.m.   Even after midnight, there was not total darkness.   One night we stayed in the hot springs rock lake until after 10:00 pm and it was very light.   It is a little difficult to adjust to so many hours of daylight in the summer.  At the lightest, in late June, sunrise is 2:53 a.m. and sunset at 12:37 p.m.   It never gets really dark.   But, remember in the December they have many hours of darkness.   In several areas of the resort there are benches for guests to sit and enjoy the scenery.

Carved bench

Some of these benches are very ornate.  We love the carved wooden benches.   In the winter, this is a great area to view the Aurora, or the Northern Lights.   Also fun to ride on a dog sled through the snow and wooded areas.  Chena Hot Springs is a great year round resort.

Fairbanks, Alaska for a Day with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Finally we have a day to explore Fairbanks.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks, have spent too much time doing business with the humans.   But now, they say we have a day to explore a little of Fairbanks.   Originally the Alaska Highway, or Alcan (Alaska Canadian) Highway ended in Fairbanks.   This milepost marks the former end of the highway.

Alaska Highway Milepost, Fairbanks

The highway was built after Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii was bombed on December 7, 1941, by Japan.   That action brought the United States into World War II.   Hawaii was a territory then, as was Alaska.   We realized that Alaska was also vulnerable to attack, with no means to get military help to Alaska.   Canada and the United States decided to build a road for military access.   This helped the US and also Canada.   They also needed a road to their Yukon Territory.   As you know, now the official end of the road is in Delta Junction, with a choice of continuing to either Fairbanks or Anchorage.   Near this milepost is the Yukon Quest museum and shop.

Yukon Quest museum and store

The Yukon Quest is a winter dog sled race between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, Canadian Yukon Territory.     This was an interesting place to visit.   The humans each bought shirts and other small souvenirs.   Also nearby is Golden Heart Plaza.

Golden Heart Plaza, Fairbanks

This is a great place to learn about some Alaskan people and also to rest and relax.   Fairbanks is called the Golden Heart of Alaska.   This statue is surrounded by informational plaques.

In Golden Heart Plaza

We enjoyed stopping here.   Everything is on the banks of the Chena River, which runs through Fairbanks.   Here we see the Interior Alaska Antler Arch.

Antler Arch, Fairbanks

This is the world’s farthest north Antler Arch. The arch has 2 concrete columns and a steel beam to hold the antlers.   There are over 100 moose and caribou antlers from all over the interior of Alaska.   Next we visited the Great Alaskan Bowl Company.

Let’s go inside

They specialize is bowls made of Alaskan birch.

Birch bowls

But there are many other Alaskan souvenirs here also.

Big variety

Visitors can look through a huge glass wall and craftsmen at work.   The Great Alaskan Bowl Company should be a stop during your time in Fairbanks.   We bought one bowl, made from Alaskan birch.

Our bowl

We love it.   Also the humans purchasesd Alaskan jams, oils and other small gifts and souvenirs.  The photos of the Great Alaskan Bowl Company are their photos.  We took them from their website.   We then met our Alaskan relatives at Brewster’s downtown restaurant, and had a great dinner and excellent conversation.   Mom loves Brewster’s.

Inside Brewster’s Restaurant in Fairbanks, Alaska

She always orders halibut.   And it is delicious.   We had a wonderful day in Fairbanks.   Remember we were there in early May, so many attractions were not yet open.   The Riverboat Discovery was opening the weekend after we left.

Our boat, Discovery III, waiting for us

We did ride on this paddleboat last year.   Another great thing to do in Fairbanks.   Pioneer Park has a large salmon bake during the summer, but they had not yet opened.  They have nice stores with local products there, also.   Another place to visit in Fairbanks is the Ice Museum.   Mom was there years ago.   There are incredible ice sclptures inside.  A really cold place, but worth a visit.   Also not yet opened.  When you visit Fairbanks, we hope you see many of these attractions.   Enjoy some truly Alaskan experiences.

Chatanika Lodge and Alaska Pipeline

We have a new realtor to sell the house in North Pole.   Most of the other business is finished.   Now we get to be tourists.   From Fairbanks we drive north toward Fox.   This is a great place to see the Alaska Pipeline, and maybe even touch it.   This sign tells about the pipeline.

Route of the Alaska Pipeline

As you can see, it is 800 miles long, transporting crude oil from Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to Valdez Marine Terminal, eventally shipped from the Pacific Ocean to ports around the world.  I, Zeb the Duck, and mom have been here before, and so has Alaska native, Eider Duck.   This is the first time for Soapy Smith Duck, his mom and his dog, Chloe.

Soapy’s mom and dog, Chloe, and the Colorado Traveling Ducks under the pipeline.

Chloe and mom are under the pipeline, with we ducks.  The pipeline is tall enough for a large Alaskan moose to easily walk under it.   The moose and other large animals migrate through parts of Alaska that now have a pipeline.  Some times the pipeline is above ground and sometimes the pipeline is below ground.

Sometimes pipeline is underground

There were no other tourists here, so Chloe had a great time running and frolicking along the pipeline.

Chloe running along pipeline

The pipeline carries hot oil, about 100 degrees F at this location.   To keep the pipeline clean, pigs are put inside the pipe.

Old and newer pigs to clean inside the AlaskaPipeline.

At first they needed to scrape wax from the pipe.   Now there is less wax but they smooth the flow by reducing turbulence inside the pipeline.   The pipeline averages 1.5 million barrels of oil daily.   The entire trip for a barrel of oil takes 11.9 days, starting at Prudhoe Bay and ending in Valdez.   We drive to Chatanika Lodge.

Chatanika Lodge

This is a great place.   There are rooms to spend a few nights, a good restaurant and bar.   Ron and Shirley, the owners, also have great Alaskan decor with an additional room featuring an old classic car and an older Harley.

Vintage car and Harley

Ron and Shirley host great parties here.

One of the many parties held here

Eider and his dad came here for New Year’s Eve parties and for Chatanika Days, the first weekend in March.   Celebrating longer days and the promise of a warmer spring and summer is important.   Also popular is the Halloween party.   Eider’s dad loved this lodge and the great parties.   Everyone has fun here.   Eider’s dad was also a sportsman, so when he passed away, we asked Ron and Shirley to display some hunting and fishing trophies.   Here is his salmon.

Eider’s dad’s salmon

This buffalo or bison head was the result of a Colorado hunting trip.

Eider’s buffalo head

And our favorite.

Eider’s bear

This is an Alaska bear.   This bear stood in the living room of his house in North Pole, Alaska.   Soapy’s mom likes the bear.

Eider’s bear and Soapy’s mom

These mounts are enjoying the parties at Chatanika now.

Ron. Owner of Chatanika Lodge and our friend

Thanks for taking care of them Ron and Shirley.

 

Still Diving North. Still Daily Snow with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Yesterday’s snow and icy roads, the worst of the trip has ended.  We arrived at Haines Junction, in the Canadian Yukon.

Haines Junction, Yukon. Love the sign

And yes, you can drive to the Alaskan port city of Haines from here.   But we did not.   We are trying to get to Fairbanks or North Pole, Alaska to hire a new realtor.   Our motel in Haines Junction was very comfortable and had a good bar and restaurant nearby.

Alcan Motel in Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, Canada

So we were all happy.   We ordered our dinner and ate in our rooms.   We were exhausted.    Refreshed after a good night’s sleep, driving north, we met a new friend.

Canadian grizzly bear

This Canadian grizzly bear was too busy grazing to pay much attention to us, but we sure admired him.   That bump on his back is typical of grizzly bears, or so says our guidebook.  They can be ferious, but he looks so sweet and hugable.   This partially frozen lake caught our attention.

A winter wonderland

We love to see the winter landscape.   We just don’t love the cold.   Driving past Canadian customs, we have arrived in Alaska, USA.   There are several monuments and signs here.   The Welcome to Alaska.   Looking the other direction, the Welcome to the Yukon, and this friendship bench.

Friendship bench

Canada and the United States have been friends for years, so this bench is a nice place to pause and enjoy the view.   The International Boundary Post shows the actual border, marked by the suveyors.  Before the Alaska Highway, the borders were not so clearly marked.  We quicky cleared US customs and we continued north toward Delta Junction.

Delta Junction, Alaska. Official end of he Alaska Highway

This milepost in Delta Junction marks the official end of the Alaska Highway.  From here there is a main road heading south to Anchorage and Valdez.  Valdez is the end of the Alaska Pipeline, which carries oil from the fields of Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean to Port Valdez on the east side of Prince William Sound.   Here ships wait to carry crude oil into the Pacific Ocean and to various world ports.   Also at Delta Junction, you can drive on the Richardson Highway and go north to Fairbanks.   That is the route we drove.   We were in Delta Junction the first week of May and the Visitor’s Center was not yet open.   Many businesses along our route are only open during the warmer months.   At the Delta Junction Visitor’s Center they have lots of information signs outside.   And this statue of a giant mosquito.   Alaska does have giant mosquitos.   But since the center is not yet open, this mosquito is not yet in its best form.   This photo from last year shows what the mosquito will look like soon.

Mosquitos.

Well, we are only hours away from our next hotel in Fairbanks.

Heading north to Fairbanks, Alaska

Heading down the road, we will reach our Fairbanks destination tonight.