After a fun night at the Fay cabin that included a visiting reindeer (Flea), poetry reading (Sharon), caribou fajitas (hunted by Fairbanks friend Brent), a little wagering on the Nenana Ice Classic, and a fine tour movie, we said farewell to the Arctic Quest. Six have flown away, the other six of us are heading out this afternoon for some SuperBowl action. Go Broncos!!
A fun afternoon was had at the Fairbanks Curling Club, where 12 brave Parkwest-ers took to the ice to learn about throwing stones, sliders, grippers, skips and sweeping.
We got the Parkwest gang into snowshoes for a play date on the Tanana River. Lunch and campfire was set up by Collin, canine love provided by Luna, Sam and Rosie, the gorgeous weather a gift from Mother Nature. We could not have pulled it off without the big help of friends Will and Anne who lent us everything from the cook pot to the cargo sled to the glacier talk. Also big thanks to Ginny (and her friend Jack Daniels) for the cinnamon whiskey warmup!
Thanks to Eric and Caleb piloting the Navajos, we flew up to the Arctic Circle and visited the native village of Beaver. Our hosts, Ai and Cliff, showed us around their community and treated us to salmon, moose and wonderful stories at their home. Upon return to Fairbanks, we did a little beer-sampling at our favorite craft brewery: HooDoo! And no tour is complete without Sharon reciting the Cremation of Sam McGee!
It's been an epic week for the Arctic Quest folks up here in Alaska. Blue skies, dog sledding, and (now) two great evenings of Aurora Borealis photography. The latter activity isn't for sissies--it requires late nights, lots of camera gear and LOTS of outerwear. Special thanks to Dr. Neal Brown, the undisputed aurora expert, for his great lecture last night.
An epic night of lights for the Arctic Quest gang on 1/31. More photos to come! Thanks for this fabulous shot, Chester!
We saw it all: mountains, frozen rivers, moose galore and had lots of laughs along the way. While Mr. Denali didn't show us the full monty, we got some dramatic views between the cloud layers.
I doubt anyone got out of their comfy Fairbanks beds last night to catch it, but the "lights were out" at about midnight. Hopefully we'll get a similar (or better) showing tonight at Chena Hot Springs. The resort will take us out by snow coach at 10:00 pm to hang out on a mountain-top yurt to watch the show.
The gang's all here in Anchorage and already sharing laughs, making memories, and settled in like the big 'ol happy family that we are. Tomorrow we board Alaska Railroad's Aurora winter train for the day-long trip up to Fairbanks. Forecast calls for clear skies over Denali NP, so looking forward to some great views of "the Big Guy."
The highlight so far has been the warm weather. The lowlight? NOT getting into the speakeasy!
So, just what kinds of tasks are left to the tour director less than one week before the Arctic Quest tour? Weekend duties included the following:
Cat Herder (aka Marisa) has been guiding pilot tours in the American West for over a dozen years. Keep tabs on your Parkwest pilot friends, National Park news and other tidbits here!