Pictures from an Elderhostel in Winter Alaska, March13-26, 2006

This Elderhostel program started in Fairbanks Alaska on March 13. On the first night in town, the night temperature was minus 24F . Average temperature that first week was 0 F. Fortunately, we were prepared and dressed appropriately. During our stay in Fairbanks we visited an Ice Park where the entries of an International Ice Sculpture contest were on display. We watched curling matches, petted a Musk Ox, had lectures on everything from literature to auroras. The starting line for a three day dog sledding race was held right outside our hotel. Our second week involved a journey up the Dalton Highway. This road was built to allow construction of the trans Alaska pipeline and parallels the pipeline for 414 miles all the way up to Deadhorse on the Arctic Ocean. We drove 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle to spend the week at Coldfoot at mile 175. Coldfoot was a gold mining town and is now the a truck stop - the last one before Deadhorse 274 miles further north. We visited nearby Wiseman, another gold mining town, where we got to talk with one of the residents about life in this harsh environment. Wiseman has been continuously occupied since the very early 1900's. Current population is about 15. At Coldfoot and Wiseman, we rode dog sleds, snow shoed and watched for the aurora. There was 3 feet of snow on the ground and the temperatures even got up to the low teens. We also took a day trip (in very snowy conditions) up the Dalton Highway to Atigun Pass. It was a truly spectacular drive. The ride was made interesting by frequent encounters with huge 18 wheelers hauling oversized loads northward and by having our van break down.

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All pictures © Don and LorettaWhiteley 2006