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Monday, 5 September 2011

Rob and June visit Alaska Day 1

DAY 1
You always have preconceived ideas about places that you intend to visit. Alaska was no exception and I think that mine was something like this.
Whilst this was not necessarily false, there was much more on offer than I had given the state credit for although various types of forest did figure largely on the agenda. One thing did come across strongly and that was that Alaska is a wild place and our short visit was very much confined to the frontier of a vast wilderness beyond which very few people live today.
After a tiresome 25 hour journey door to door, we arrived in Fairbanks at 1.30am and it was a mark of the organisation and co-operation of the people found throughout the trip, that we were picked up by our hotel shuttle and delived to our 'room'.
Which as you can see was more like a flat that a hotel room.
However at 2.00am we were not ready to appreciate it.
Later that morning we discovered that the Wedgewood Resort had originally been the accommodation complex for many of the workers who built the Alaska Pipeline. It's only downside was the long walk to breakfast through a landscaped setting complete with brightly coloured flower beds, a giant cabbage patch, motor museum, bird observatory and various historical bits and pieces scattered strategically around the vast site.
Feeling chipper after a waiter served breakfast at the resort centre's restaurant we set out to explore the boreal forest behind our complex of rooms. A mile long forest trail called the Taiga Trail (taiga = Russian for forest of sticks) loops over Isabella Slough and through a mosaic of boreal forest habitats,
including towering white spruce, a small black spruce wetland, and stands of paper birch,

quaking aspen and stately cottonwoods. The trail also surrounds Wander Lake, where visitors can enjoy the view from observation decks with benches and interpretive signs.











Sandhill cranes flew over the lake on their way to settle with countless others in Creamer's Field before making their way south for the winter.

















A horned grebe made a quick exit after catching its breakfast.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It was soon clear that insect repellent was going to be an essential cosmetic as large mosquitoes started to make their presence felt. Although much larger, harmless dragonflies flitted by from time to time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In the damp woodland surrounding the lake a range of fungi were to be found.

















Is was not long before we reached the bird observatory and our room. After a healthy June style lunch - an apple and a cereal bar, we embarked upon the hotel's self styled shuttle trolley which completes a tour of the town of Fairbanks, allowing you to hop on and off at will. The service operates half-hourly. We chose to visit Pioneer Park which is an historical theme park and features a reconstructed Gold Rush town composed entirely of old buildings removed from the centre of Fairbanks in order to allow for 'modernisation'.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
An interesting combination of hot tub, shower and rocking chair.






















As we came to the end of our first day in Fairbanks I got the feeling that a smiling June thought that the worst of the trip out was behind her.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apologies for the erratic spacing. I don't know why this happens but will keep an eye on it in future.

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