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USA: Alaska - Wild and Beautiful VIII

Published: 10.12.2012
We meet at 8 o’clock for breakfast. Concerning our late arrival yesterday we choose our program of the day just now. It has been decided. We leave Fairbanks and continue to Chena Hot Springs to its thermal springs.

28. 8. 2011

Fairbanks; Tanana River; Chena River; Steese Highway; Chena Hot Springs; North Pole; Denali Highway; Richardson Highway; Alaska Range ; Tangle Lakes

Fairbanks is the unofficial capital of Alaska. The population of 30 thousand is quite many for the area, which is otherwise populated only sparsely. Fairbanks emerged along both banks of Chena River and its confluence with huge Tanana River. It would seem that the town appeared due to  discovery of gold in the region. Nevertheless, the town stood there before. In the town you can find well-known university, big shopping malls and many community centres.


On Steese Highway we set out to another interesting road – Chena Hot Springs Road. The road is 56,6 miles long and it ends in recreational center Chena Hot Springs. The center is interesting for its thermal springs and you can also visit “ice hotel - Aurora Ice Museum.”Interests of particular members of the group differ – one part of the group set out to thermal springs and the other to the ice hotel. After the afternoon program our group divides again. Some of our party go for a lunch and others to capture some photos at small pools.

Termální prameny - Chena Hot Springs

Next stop - the town of North Pole, the residence of Santa Claus. On relatively vast area there are huge “statues” of Santa Claus, his house and a pen for his caribous. You can find here a lot of schmaltzy toys and decorations, dozens and dozens of Christmas trees, a wall where are letters of children from all-around the world with their wishes…

Cestou z Chena Hot SpringsWe have around 240 miles left and its time to go. Our final stop and accommodation are Tangle Lakes. The landscape around the road is diverse. Suddenly, on the other side of the road we see two swans, first animals we see today. We want to stop, but it isn’t possible to do it so quickly, because first we have find a place, which will allow us to do so, due to road traffic. I look around, trying to find some interesting object and all of a sudden I see it. It stands not far from the road and is little confused. For few seconds we look each other in the eyes – it is a beautiful American black bear! My request for a stop is more urgent! Sob karibuFinally we stop and I run back. As I expected, the bear didn’t wait for us. We examined bushes along the road, try to focus on distance and we see him at last! The bear looks like much more bigger then the one I saw close to the road. The animal is too far to allow me to take some good photo.   Despite that it is a wonderful experience for me! We are not lucky to see animals today. When Dáša reports that she sees a caribou in the distance, we immediately stop, take cameras and we try to approach it.   Repeated unplanned stops cause us to get to the area, where are  magnificent views over Alaska Range, when its already dark. We drive towards Cantwell, but today’s goal is to reach Tangel River Inn where we will  be accommodated. 

Tangla Lakes - ubytováníU Chena Hot Springs

It’s night, we continue on the road and try to reach our destination as soon as possible. Our wish to accommodate earlier than tomorrow remains unfulfilled. When the midnight strikes we just arrive at our destionation.

In the following part of our Alaska series we will travel through autumn colored nature to the highest pass in Alaska. Drive to next night accommodation will be interrupted by  an unexpected night adventure.

Text a photo: Magdaléna Radostová

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