We are now at our most northern point of our entire trip, Fairbanks Alaska. It was only a 120 mile drive from Denali National Park on a good highway. The scenery was the same as it has been through the interior of Alaska, trees, and not much else. We quickly found our campsite at Rivers Edge RV Resort, packed up the Tacoma and made our way to the Ice Museum. We got there a little early before it opened so we wandered around. Around the corner, there was an exhibit of dog sled huskies and their pups. It was a mother and several pups. The lady that was presenting it said that the mom has been in cage all winter and her and the pups needed some people time. Logan came to the call!
When we got to the museum, we were enchanted with beautiful ice sculptures. It’s amazing what can be done with a few tools and a sculpture’s touch. In March every year, Fairbanks is host to the world ice sculpture competition. The museum plays a movie of some of the pieces that was sculpt and it’s amazing to see the outcome for the short time they have to do it.
At the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, there is a nice Large Animal Research Station that is open to the public for guided tours. The station researches large animals that are indigenous to northern Alaska. During our visit, we were able to learn about the caribou and muskoxen. The caribou has a close cousin, the Reindeers. Now, there are three things that make the reindeer different from a caribou. 1: Reindeers can be tamed and they do well around humans. 2: Reindeers can fly and 3: Special Reindeers have a bright red nose. The things we learn!
“At the close of the last ice age, muskoxen were found across northern Europe, Asia, Greenland and North America, including Alaska. By the mid-1800s, muskox had disappeared from Europe and Asia. By the 1920s, muskox had also disappeared from Alaska, with the only remaining animals being found in east Greenland and Arctic Canada. International concern over impending extinction of this animal led to an effort to restore a population in Alaska.”
The university has been raising muskoxen for the last 30 years and releasing them to the wilds of Alaska. Slowly building back the population.
Last on Logan’s list for things to do was to pan for gold. We visited the Goldstream Dredge No. 8 a few miles north of Fairbanks. They gave us a bag of gravel with dirt, showed us the technique to pan, and we found some gold. $24 worth.