Friday, July 4, 2014

Alaska {Part 1}

I have finally loaded all of my Alaska pictures onto my computer, and oh my gosh - there are a ton of good ones! I have so many pictures and we were gone for so long, that there are going to be a lot of Alaska posts over the next few weeks!

Day 1 - Tuesday, June 17 - Fairbanks, AK
Our first day was just a lot of traveling! We had to travel about 3750 miles to Fairbanks.

Here my mom and I are getting ready to take off!

All of Alaska is on the same time zone, which is 4 hours behind EST. We ended up landing in Fairbanks around 10:30 PM their time, which was really late for us. We were so excited though that we didn't want to just go to bed, so we walked around our hotel, Pike's Waterfront Lodge, for a little bit.

This picture was probably taken around 11:30 PM, and look how light it is! That was one of the weird things about Alaska - it was almost 24 hours of daylight. It was kind of neat to see that, but it was so crazy to go to bed late when it was light out, and then wake up early and it was still light out.

Day 2 - Wednesday, June 18 - Fairbanks, AK
The next morning we had breakfast in our hotel before heading out on a tour of the Gold Dredge 8. We thought the tour was going to be kind of lame, but we ended up having fun! We booked our whole land portion through Royal Caribbean, so most of the day was kind of planned out for us already.

We got to see the Alaskan Pipeline as well. Not super pretty or anything but one of those things unique to Alaska.

It rained pretty much constantly while we were on the land portion, but that didn't stop us from doing a lot!

This is the actual gold dredge that they used back in the day to separate the gold out of the dirt.

Then we got to pan for gold ourselves, which was actually really neat.

I even found and got to keep my gold flecks!

We then got dropped in downtown Fairbanks, which really wasn't a whole lot. We had enough time to grab lunch and walk around a little bit, but the town is so small that there wasn't really much to look at. I thought this was funny though - it gets super cold in Fairbanks during the winter that the people who live there have to plug their cars in so they don't get too cold that they won't start. They also have these pipes around the city that shoot off steam to defrost your windshields in the winter while you're driving. Can you imagine living somewhere that cold?!

Fairbanks is one of the top places to see the Northern Lights too. The prime viewing for that is in the winter though when it's pretty much constantly dark. That is one thing I would LOVE to see someday, but I'm not too sure whether I would want to brave the cold Alaskan winter.

We had the rest of the afternoon to choose what we wanted to do. They had a couple of optional excursions we could have done, but none of them seemed all that interesting, so we just headed back to the hotel. We took naps and then did a little more exploring around our hotel.

Our hotel had been the starting point for the Iditarod in 2003, so they had a little garden commemorating that. I quickly learned that Alaskans love the Iditarod and all things dog sledding. Just another thing kind of unique to Alaska!

Our hotel had a restaurant right next door, so we ate dinner there. I tried chicken & waffles, and I am now obsessed! It does seem kind of funny that I went about as far north in the US as you can go and ordered chicken & waffles when that's more of a Southern thing ;) It was so good though!

We went to bed early that night because we had to be up to head out to Denali the next day, which I'll save for another post.

Hope you all have a great 4th of July weekend!

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