Fairbanks Journals

Alaska & the Northern Lights

A March 2010 trip to Fairbanks by Cindy Grant

Northern Lights Photo, Wiseman, Alaska More Photos
Quote: A Once in a Life Time Experience

The Northern Lights

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Overview"

Northern Lights Photo, Wiseman, Alaska
Quote:
Seeing the Northern Lights was always something I wanted to do, I just didn't know how to go about it. After getting into photography, a workshop presented itself, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity! Getting to Fairbanks was easy, although time consuming. I left my home 2 pm east coast time, and arrived at the Best Western Chena River at 12 am the next day. With the 3 hour time difference, it was LATE! I checked in, and crashed immediately! I wasn't supposed to meet up with my group until late afternoon, and we went to dinner and discussed what was to come.Our first day was packed with activities. We went to the sled dog races, journeyed to the North Pole, had dinner, and took i...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Best Western Chena River Lodge

Hotel | "A Great Base"

Quote:
A non-smoking hotel adjacent to the Fairbanks Airport, but surprisingly quiet. It is located next to the Chena River. There are 67 hotel rooms, high speed internet, complimentary breakfast, and 24 hour staff.

Check in is 4 pm, check out is 11 am.

You are near a grocery store and there are many great restaurants to choose from.

The only problem I encountered was with the window not shutting in my room. Since it was 10 degrees, I complained, and was immediately moved.

I would recomment this hotel, it was clean, the employees were friendly, and the location was convenient.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Best Western Chena River Lodge
1255 TVSA Way
Fairbanks, Alaska 99706
866-539-0036

Open North America Championships

Attraction | "Mush!"

Open North America Championships Photo, Fairbanks, Alaska
Quote:
My first sled dog race! It was just outside of Fairbanks. A three day race held each year in March. The first two days consists of 20 mile heats, and then on the third day it's a 30 mile heat. We were there to watch the teams start on the first day - the dogs were so eager to get going! This race has been going strong since 1946.

There was some food for sale, and a small pen of puppies, which were popular with the kids. There was also a fur auction, which was fun to watch!

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Open North America Championships
Farmers Loop Road
Fairbanks, Alaska
907-457-MUSH

World Ice Art Championship

Attraction | "Cold and Cool!"

World Ice Art Championship Photo, Fairbanks, Alaska
Quote:
We visited the National Ice Carving Championships one night. Unfortunately, the daytime temperatures hit almost 30 degrees, and there was some melting and breaking of the sculptures. The competition began in 1987, and people come from all over the world to show their skills.By nighttime, the temp was 17 degrees. The sculptures were beautiful - they were lit in strategic places by colorful spotlights. Santa drives the kids around - great fun for the family. The expertise needed to do these sculptures was truly amazing! There is even a kids competition - they will definitely be moving on to the grownup competition soon.We walked around the snow packed...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

World Ice Art Championship
1925 Chena Landing Loop, Ice Park
Fairbanks, Alaska
(907) 451-8250

Santa Claus House

Attraction | "A Must See"

Santa Claus House Photo, Fairbanks, Alaska
Quote:
Just outside of Fairbanks you find the Santa Claus House. Originally a general store, it is now a Christmas shop. You can't miss the gigantic Santa statue at the road. A quite cute building with pretty Christmas murals painted on the outside, and there are even some reindeer in the pen behind the shop.

Anything Christmas you want to buy, it is here! There are photo opportunities inside and outside, ornaments, decorations, and clothing for sale. You can even have your Santa letters mailed to the kids!

Various seasonal hours, basically 10 am - 5 pm

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Santa Claus House
101 Saint Nicholas Drive
Fairbanks, Alaska 99705
(907) 488-2200

Pagoda Restaurant

Restaurant | "Chinese at the North Pole"

Quote:
This was our last meal before heading up the Dalton Highway. They specialize in Mandarin, Szechuan, and Cantonese food.Prices look steep ($15.95 - $19.95) but the portions are huge, and this place was picked not only because the food is exceptional, but also because we would have the leftovers the next night! I had sweet and sour pork - it was delicious, and equally so the next night. Others got Mongolian beef, kung pao checken, and chicken chow mein. The restaurant proudly displays pictures from where they were visited by Guy Fieri, from the Food Network. He featured them on his show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives". I wouldn't call this a dive - it was a very gaily decora...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Pagoda Restaurant
431 North Santa Claus Land
North Pole, Alaska 99705-6070
(907) 488-3338

Dalton Highway

Attraction | "Highway to Nowhere"

Dalton Highway Photo, Fairbanks, Alaska
Quote:
The Dalton Highway is not for the faint of heart! It is 414 miles long, and starts 84 miles north of Fairbanks. It crosses the Brooks Range on it's way to Prudhoe Bay, where the oil fields are. You can see the pipeline as you make your way along. There is no stopping along the Dalton, except in the little pullouts. You wouldn't want to - there is no way you can hear the big rigs before they get to you. The rigs have to speed down the hills in order to get up the next hill; and they do speed! The road is snow covered and packed - don't attempt to drive it if you aren't used to it.There are few places for supplies. Gas is only available at the Yukon River bridge and at Coldfoot; the...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Dalton Highway

Fairbanks, Alaska

Snow Forest

Attraction | "Beautiful!"

Snow Forest Dalton Hwy AK Photo,
Quote:
Cruising along the Dalton, around mile marker 46, you will find a spruce forest. It is indeed a magnificent sight! The snow piles up on the limbs of the trees here, and you can barely see the green of the trees. It looks like a forest of snow. It was so windy and cold, around 0 degrees with the wind gusts, so we couldn't stay out long. But it was worth braving the frigid temperatures to see something so beautiful. Lucky we stopped on the way up - temperatures were much warmer on the way back, and much more of the green of the trees was visible. Still beautiful and very unique. There is space to pull off the Dalton for photographs.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Dalton Highway

Attraction | "An Imaginary Line"

Dalton Highway Photo, Fairbanks, Alaska
Quote:
You wouldn't even notice that you were passing over the Arctic Circle if there wasn't a pullout on the Dalton Highway for it. There's a platform with a sign to get your picture taken. After all, how many times do you pass the Arctic Circle? We didn't stay here long, just enough to take pictures. There is an outhouse here, BYO supplies! Mile marker 115.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Dalton Highway

Fairbanks, Alaska

Dalton Highway

Attraction | "Beautiful Scenery"

Dalton Highway Photo, Fairbanks, Alaska
Quote:
Gobbler's Knob sits about 12 miles noth of the Arctic Circle, and near where the Brooks Range mountains begin. We braved the cold again to photograph the panoramic views of the Brooks. As far as the eye could see - no people in sight, incredibly blue skies, white snow, and gorgeous mountains. Our destination was in the middle of the Brooks: they were amazing already! I believe there was an outhouse - BYO supplies.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Dalton Highway

Fairbanks, Alaska

Arctic Getaway Bed and Breakfast

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Home Away from Home"

Arctic Getaway Bed and Breakfast Photo, Wiseman, Alaska
Quote:
Mile Marker 189.Especially your home out of the cold! No phone, no TV, and running mostly on windmill powered electricity, it was an incredible place. Our bed and breakfast was in Wiseman, in the middle of the Brooks Range mountains. Bernie and Uta Hicker have made their home here and are raising their kids here along the Koyukuk River. Wiseman is a small village, population is almost non-existant. I think I saw two other people the whole time we were there. But our hosts took great care of us, helping us unpack the car and settle in our cabin. The two story cabin slept five, with an addition on the cabin for two more. We all shared the one bathroom, and hot running wat...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Arctic Getaway Bed and Breakfast
Dalton Highway
Wiseman, Alaska 99790

Brooks Range

Attraction | "Snow Covered Landscapes"

Brooks Range Photo, Wiseman, Alaska
Quote:
On the north slope of the Brooks Range, are the great wide open spaces of the Chandalar Shelf. Snow was everywhere - also numerous herds of caribou. We seemed to disturb them; when we first got out they were very close, but they immediately started moving closer to the mountains and further away from us. You can see their tracks in the snow on the side of the mountain - it seems impossible for anything to make it up and over the mountain!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Brooks Range

Wiseman, Alaska

Atigun Pass

Attraction | "The Highest Pass"

Atigun Pass Photo, Wiseman, Alaska
Quote:
The Dalton crosses the Continental Divide here, and Atigun is the highest maintained mountain pass in Alaska. That didn't stop the butterflies when I looked to my right and saw "Avalanche Area" on the signs! There is a pull off here where we stopped to take pictures and to have our sandwiches. The wind was blowing terribly, making it too cold - again near 0 degrees. One brave soul had set up camp - even if I liked camping, I would never be anywhere that close to the edge! The Ice Road Truckers film crew was also in the pull off filming. Unfortunately one trucker couldn't make it up the hill, and the huge Caterpillar truck had to come and pull it up! The view from the top ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 31, 2010

Atigun Pass

Wiseman, Alaska