Today we decided to use our Tour Saver Book again. We went to the Gold Dredge #8 Site. With it you get a train ride around to see the dredge.
We had to wait until some tour buses got there, and were entertained by a man named Earl. It seems he had met several country singers including Johnny Cash. He said he even open a show for Johnny when he came to Alaska. His Wiley Nelson rendition sounded just like Wiley.
The narrator was a man named Jack. He looked like Santa, and said he lives in North Pole. His descriptions of everything were very good. They showed how the steam pipes were driven into the ground. They also showed how the miners that went underground got the ore to the surface. They would have let us on the Dredge, but it was still frozen to the ground and it jumps when it comes free, so could be a safety hazard. On the way back to the start, Jack announced that the Dredge was now free of the ice, and future tours would be able to enter the Dredge.
This lift was run by steam power and looked like a slow way to get the ore out of the ground.
Jack demonstrating how the water was shot out to wash away some of the overburden.
No idea what this old machine did, but it looked kind of neat.
|The gold panning demonstration. Notice the flecks of gold at the top of the pan.|
Next we got to the place where they gave everyone a “poke,” which is a bag of dirt from their claim with hopefully gold in it to pan. They had already given us a gold panning demonstration. The water troughs we panned in had heated water. It took a while, but we soon started seeing the gold in our pans.
|Pat way through panning.|
|Now you can see the gold.|
|The small spots are the gold.|
They had little plastic vials to collect your gold in. We took the gold to a scale where they told us how much gold we had found. Cindy had $9.00 worth, and I had $14.00 worth. It was a lot of fun. They had cookies and coffee or hot chocolate or water for everyone. They had different things you could have your gold made into, but we declined.
|See, I'm not the only one bothered by mosquitoes.|
|Earl entertaining us while we waited for all the passengers to load.|
When the pipe was built, the environmentalists were afraid the caribou and moose would be impacted by the pipeline. They have found that they cross back and forth with no problem, and moose will actually lay down in the shade of the pipe. So absolutely no impact.
We went back to the start, and they had a display of the Alaska Pipeline, showing how big the pipe is and how thick the wall is. There was also a cut out with what they call a pig, which is a device they send through the pipe to clean out any wax build up. Jack also told us that there are other pigs which will measure how thick the pipe is so they can tell how it is holding up. We had walked under the pipeline to get to the train.
On the way back to town, we stopped at the Pipeline information stop, which we missed on the way to the Arctic Circle. It had the same display of the pipe that was at the train ride. It also has pictures of the pipe and gave some more details about the pipeline on large display boards.
After that we came home, thanks for visiting.