Great Land of Alaska

Fairbanks & Vicinity

Originally an area inhabited by Koyukon Athabaskans, Fairbanks was started as a trading post in 1901. Various events, such as the discovery of gold, construction of the Alcan highway, and construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline fueled the growth of what would become Alaska's second largest city. Modern day Fairbanks is the service and supply center for Interior Alaska. The University of Alaska's main campus is located here. Nearly a quarter of a million tourists visit Fairbanks each year. Fairbanks is known for its temperature extremes--temperatures can drop as low as -40°F (-40°C) during the winters and and climb as high as 90°F (32°C) in the summer.

Fairbanks

Looking out the hotel window Looking out the hotel window

If it looks cold in this picture, it's because it is. These pictures were taken during a work-related trip for the Festival of Native Arts in March 2007. With temperatures dropping to -40°F/C at night, half of the vehicles that we came in would not start the next morning.

Downtown Fairbanks

Here's downtown Fairbanks during a warmer time of year, taken in mid May.

Fairbanks from up high

A portion of Fairbanks as seen from atop one of the hills at the university.

Bridge over river

Fairbanks is built on both sides of the Chena River, shown here as it passes under University Avenue and winds past the Chena River State Recreation Site.

North Pole

Santa Claus House Giant wooden Santa Giant fiberglass Santa

It's always Christmas at North Pole, a small town about a 15-minute drive southeast of Fairbanks. Many light poles along the streets of town are adorned with Christmas decorations year-round, and the most popular attraction is the Santa Claus House. It's a Christmas-themed store with Alaskan souvenirs, toys, and Christmas items. Outside the Santa Claus House are two giant Santas to greet visitors.

Santa Claus House Santa Land RV park

Santa Claus looks a little out of place standing among green trees and snow-free land during the summer. The Santa Claus house, in addition to being a gift shop and tourist attraction, also has an RV park and a reindeer pen.

Storm clouds

Thunderstorms are fairly common during Interior Alaska's summer. This storm just narrowly missed North Pole. Good thing too as I was on my way to a friend's outdoor wedding as this storm was brewing.

Fox

Trans-Alaska pipeline Trans-Alaska pipeline Trans-Alaska pipeline Trans-Alaska pipeline

Fox is a small town, about the only tourist attraction is the TransAlaska Pipeline that runs through the town. The pipeline, built in the 1970's, carries oil from the oil fields of the North Slope to the tanker loading facilities in Valdez.

The pipeline is not attached to its supports; it sits free on the horizontal beams as you can see in the third picture. This gives the pipeline a lot of flexibility, something necessary in one of the world's most geologically active areas.

Trans-Alaska pipeline Trans-Alaska pipeline

Two examples of a pig (Pipeline Inspection Guage) are on display near the pipeline in Fox. Pigs are used to clean and inspect the inside of the pipeline.

Chena Hot Springs

Chena Hot Springs Chena Hot Springs Chena Hot Springs Pile of moose and caribou antlers Small cabins Small skating pond Visitor lodge

Located about an hour's drive east of Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs is a small popular resort. A large naturally heated outdoor pool and an indoor pool are the two popular attractions here.


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