Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 33

North Pole, Alaska Tuesday June 4, 2013   

Today we had visitors. The parents of the couple in Salcha where we stayed Saturday night stopped in to see us for a few minutes. They invited us to come and see them anytime.

We went to Santa Claus House and met Santa. He was very nice and let Cindy sit on his lap, and helped her find different ornaments she wanted to buy. She told him hi from the grand kids. We were among the first people in the house and had Santa all to ourselves for a little while. He let us take all the pictures we wanted.

We had reservations to go on the Riverboat Discovery at 2:00 today. It is one of the coupons in the Alaska Tour Book. As soon as it started, they had a bush pilot with pontoons on his plane take off from the river. He flew around us a few times. They told us that in the winter the planes will have skis on them to land on the ice.

We passed many different style homes on the river.  And we went past the home and dog sled training facilities of David Monson, the husband of champion dog sledder Susan Butcher. She won the Idarod four times before her death in 2006 of cancer. He has carried on training dogs to pull sleds. He gave us a demonstration with the dogs pulling a 4 wheeler with no engine. as soon as the dogs were hooked up and in pairs, they were ready to run. And did they ever run. They start training the dogs when they are puppies. They soon learn to trust their handlers and learn that they will not be asked to do anything they are not able to do, and that if they struggle, the handler will always be there to help.

 We went past some more houses and then came to a replica of and Indian village. We were told we would stop on our way back upstream, after we went to the point where the two rivers come together.

These reindeer are at the Indian village. They told us the only difference between Reindeer and Caribou is that the Reindeer have been domesticated.

We sailed down the Chena River to where it meets the Tanana River. The two rivers have very different colors, and where they meet the colors are intermixed. The Tanana River is the larger of the two and is fed by glaciers. There are many more mineral deposits int the glacier fed river.

We turned around and stopped at the Indian village, and were given talks on the different aspects of Indian life. We were given time to walk around and see for ourselves the various things going on in the village.

Statue of  Susan Butcher's lead dog.

David Monson, Susan Butcher's husband.

We then boarded the boat and went back upstream to the terminal and gift shop. We were given the opportunity to go into a room where the temperature is 40 degrees below zero. It was very cold, and we were only in it a short time. 

Thanks for visiting

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