Days 3 & 4 (Weekend)

Leaving Anchorage, we had to stop by the headquarters of the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race.  After viewing a movie on the annual race, we toured the museum and several of us actually got to ride on a "sled" pulled by the huskies.

Denali Park was our destination for Saturday.    The night before, several of our crew took a riverboat rafting expedition.   Now, you may think that a night rafting trip is risky.  Remember, though, that the sun goes down in Alaska around 10 p.m. this time of year.

The next day, we took one of the National Park Service's tour buses 60 miles into the park.  Our box lunch for the trip included reindeer sausage.  Along the way, we saw three grizzly bears, several caribou, and a moose... not to mention a few golden eagles and other wildlife.  Our cameras were busy.

The day started out cloudy and rainy, however by mid-morning, the clouds cleared and we caught several good looks at Mt. McKinley.  At a height of over 20,000 feet, we were told that only 30% of visitors got the chance to see the tallest mountain in North America.

We then bused up to Fairbanks.  Our first stop Sunday morning was the Fairbanks location of the Alaskan Pipeline.  We posed for pictures at the historic site.

We got to pan for gold at the El Dorado Gold Mine.  All of us were awarded with several flakes of gold, which were quickly put in necklaces and earrings for a souvenir.  After a wonderful brunch at the Old Pump House Restaurant, we were treated to a riverboat tour on board the Discovery III Paddleboat.  We saw a demonstration of bush pilots, log cabin construction and got to visit a working Athabascan Indian Village.

I'm writing this at 10 p.m. on Sunday night and the sun is still up!  Tomorrow, we begin our 2-day trip on the Al-Can (Alaska-Canada) Highway towards Skagway, where we'll board the Norwegian Cruise Ship on Thursday.

John Bridges