Alaska Day 11 - Via Nenana to Fairbanks
Fairbanks Travel Blog› entry 717 of 1090 › view all entries
We spent almost a midweek in Denali. Today it was really time to go on. Further north! After (partially) filling the car's tank with rather expensive gasoline, we continued our journey over the George Parks Highway. The destination was Fairbanks, 177 km (110 mile) farther on. A piece of cake compared to the earlier long distances we traveled.
At 90 km (56 mile) into the drive we stopped at the old village of Nenana. Nenana is Athabascan for 'a good place to camp between two rivers'. That exactly describes the village. It is located at the juncture of the Nenana and Tanana Rivers. The village was founded in 1903 and used as a trading site.
Arriving in Fairbanks felt like arriving in civilization, after so many days in the nature of Denali.
After checking in in our hotel we headed downtown and walked around in the historic district. It looked a bit like downtown Anchorage. The visitors center was really impressive and offered apart from many brochures a very well organized display of the city and its surroundings.
The main destination for today was Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park is the most original city park I have ever seen. Though it can be accessed for free like, a normal city park, it looks more like a amusement park or open air museum. It encompasses a selection of old houses and cabins, all moved from Fairbanks to the park. The collection is very diverse: just huts, vet's cabins, park ranger's cabins, and even brothel cabins. All now converted to snackbars or art galleries. The park also houses the only remaining wooden river sternwheel paddleship, the SS Nenana. These wooden giants used to sail the Nenana and Chena rivers, some of them all the way to Yukon in the north east. Pioneer park also houses several museums, a kid-train, the carriage used by president Harding while opening the Alaska railroad, a kid's playground, and even an old airplane. Very divers, very relaxed.
Before we ate (too) much in an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet restaurant we made a quick stroll in Creamer's Fields, an old farm land that is currently a bird sanctuary.
More pictures below!