In our last post, I promised one more episode—a variety of items we meant to blog about but never got around to doing. So here is a final mish-mash of things we did/saw during our four months in Fairbanks.
One thing we learned during our stay is just how dog-centered the culture is up in the 49th state—a very good thing, indeed. In addition to mushing, Alaskans enjoy a variety of other dog-oriented sports and events. One of these is the Freight Pull, where dogs compete as to how much weight they can pull on a cart from a stand-still. Here is one of the light-weight class dogs:
And here’s the heavy-weight class. The rule is, no touching the dog and no bribing with treats. But other forms of encouragement are allowed:
The dogs have to be at least 25 pounds to compete, so Ziggy is ineligible. Which is too bad, because I know she’d rock her weight class (under 15 pounds) if it existed!
We also attended a combined dog obedience and conformation show. Here are the winners of one of the beginner-class obedience competitions:
And here you can see some pre-conformation show primping:
some folks just can't follow directions
Another popular sport in Fairbanks is curling, which Robin and I learned to love during the last Olympics. We were lucky enough to get to see a tournament at the local club, which had a full bar and viewing area for the convenience of spectators:
the cardboard boxes stacked between the sheets
(playing lanes) are full of beer
During the four months we spent in Fairbanks, many of the Stryker Brigade soldiers returned home after their stint in Afghanistan. To celebrate their return—as well as to honor the other soldiers at the two military bases in Fairbanks—the city hosted a parade. (Of course this meant the soldiers had to march some ten miles so they could be cheered by the local civilians, probably not how they would have preferred to spend a Saturday.) Wanting to take part in all the local culture, Robin and Ziggy and I attended the event.
Ziggy did not at all like the loud noises:
Here are some of the other spectators:
Even the workers from the electrical plant along the parade route came out to cheer on the soldiers:
Other activities we did included visiting the local Large Animal Research Station (a part of the university) during the spring open house with baby musk ox and caribou:
And going on the Riverboat Discovery cruise down the Chena River, which included a visit to a replica of an Athabascan fish camp. Here, one of the gals working there models a parka with a wolf-skin ruff:
Finally, a few shots of Denali (aka Mount McKinley). Here it is from inside the National Park:
And here is the view we had of the mountain flying home, when our plane was detoured to the north-west because of military exercises outside of Anchorage. Wow!