Friday, October 28, 2011

From the Banks of the Yukon

My latest trip was to Tanana, about a 45 min flight northeast of Fairbanks. My road trip partner Susan, will tell you that while driving to Fairbanks this summer, I tortured her with saying "Tananaaahhhhh" every time the word came entered conversation. I thought I was hilarious. I'm sure Susan has a different version of that story. 

Tanana sits at the confluence of the Yukon and Tanana rivers. Only small planes fly to Tanana (and you've heard about the safety briefing on those small planes!) The planes are so small that when checking into the flight you have to announce your body weight so the pilot can ensure the plane is properly weight balanced. Fantastic.

Flight out
The flight to Tanana was a full plane: cargo and people. And for reasons which I don't understand, the confluence of rivers creates air turbulence. A lot of turbulence.

I stayed at a bed and breakfast above the town store. It was great -- breakfast and dinner cooked for me everyday! The water isn't great Tanana -- bring your own or a good purification system! 

View of the gas station from the B&B.

Main Street

Patiently waiting for her owner outside the post office.

There are 40 odd students in the school and three classes: elementary, jr high and high school. There's also a head start program with a hand full of preschoolers.

The school
Ride your ATV to school!

The river is starting to slow down and in a few weeks will be frozen over. And let me tell you...there is no mistaking the sound of ice breaking under your feet.

I was walking along the river and wanted to be at the water's edge. About 4 feet from where I thought the edge was, I heard the sound of cracking, splitting ice. It had been snowing all day so everything along the bank was covered with snow. I didn't realize there was ice underneath. I don't know for sure that I was on frozen river, but hearing that sound, I wasn't about to find out. The current is strong and I didn't want to test my hypothermia survival skills. I've done that before (long story -- kayak rescue practice gone bad) and it's not a good sign when you don't know your right from your left but you think you do.