Thursday, July 31, 2014

Palmer, Healy, and Nenana - on the road to Fairbanks

On the trek north to Fairbanks I stayed a few nights in Palmer. The fishing frenzy is happening here, as well. There are a lot of people with dip nets. These nets are huge - 5 feet in diameter. Alaska residents are the only ones allowed to possess or use these nets. Salmon swim right into the nets, and some times the nets are completely full of fish.

Scenes on the road to Palmer - it takes a long time to get anywhere because I keep stopping to look at the scenery!

The Kenai River and yes, it really is that beautiful color. Minerals in the melting glaciers cause the water to be turquoise.

A store in Palmer, where I stopped to poke around, and found some books for grandchildren.

Chatting with a woman who lives in the bush about 50 miles from Palmer, I learned that in the winter it is easier for them to travel to towns for supplies because everything is frozen and they can use sleds. There are no roads to their property so they use a four-wheeler, a dog sled, or a snow machine. Snow machines are known as sno-mobiles in the lower 48. In the spring and summer, after the "break-up", the swampy ground makes travel difficult. She also told me about the "roadkill list". This list is a waiting list for those who would like to use for food any moose that has been struck and killed by a vehicle. Nothing goes to waste out in the bush. If your name is up, you must go to retrieve the animal, butcher it, and save various parts, one being the lower jaw, to turn in to the authorities. If you are unable to retrieve the animal, you lose your turn and your name is removed. Hunting and fishing help to feed families during the long winter.

Not sure what's going on with this building...form follows function...

Byer Lake State Park, where I spent the night. It was beautiful, but hiking or even walking around was not possible because of the "bear in camp" warnings, and if the bear didn't get you, the mosquitos would. The state parks and public campgrounds are very rustic, without electricity or water, and that's what I prefer. But alas, I've had to avoid those camps because of the bears. Mama bears are roaming around with their new cubs, and that's a dangerous situation. The bears are also ravenous, and when they kill a moose or other animal, they let it "age", and if you come across the "aging" carcass and the bear is nearby, you're toast.

Koka exploring our campsite

The charming little village of Nenana -

The village cafe

A typical Alaskan house

The railroad station

I love this cabin that is now the visitors' center.

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