Friday, April 13, 2007

Fairbanks or Bust

My friend Jenn and I took an excursion up to Fairbanks a few weekends ago (we had a three day weekend thanks to Seward's Day, neener neener). The 6+ hour drive up there was enough to make the trip worthwhile - check out the scenery!! There are caribou in the foreground of the mountains!! I was in the car on the side of the highway when I snapped that photo. Crazy, eh? But once we got to Fairbanks the real adventures began. We kicked off the first night at Chena Hot Springs. Can't say it was the best experience, though it's been my only hot spring experience. Imagine a REALLY hot pool, solitude under the steam...and then add about 30 drunk teenagers yelling profanities. Ugh! I'd been hoping to see the aurora while in the hot springs, but by the time the Spring Break MTV-style party made it to the pool I was hoping that the aurora would save their show for another time since I kinda wanted to enjoy the experience. Punk teenagers. Anyway, when we got back to my buddy's cabin, we were standing outside (in -20 degrees!!) brushing our teeth (Tom doesn't have plumbing, which turned out to be a blessing) when I heard Tom yell, "Hey! The northern lights are out!" I'd been dreaming of this moment! I look up and see a light green streak running all the way across the sky (which is BIG in Fbanks b/c there aren't mountains nearby). Then it starts to grow, pulsate, swirl, drop like rain, and break into separate bands all doing their own dance. Then parts turn yellow, pink, purple. It was like watching music. So we stood with our eyes looking up and our mouths hanging down for about 15 minutes. Then the show ended we gave it a standing ovation and hit the sack. What a way to end our first day in Fairbanks!

Then the next day Jenn and I visited some friends who have a recreational dog team. Dog mushing is incredibly popular in Fbanks - there are trails and dogs everywhere. Jenn and I were each personally chauffeured by 10 huskies around the trail system and under the pipeline! This was our view for the ride. After a few beers (like we did ANY work warranting a beer) we bid farewell to our new furry friends (not you guys, Carrie and Duff) and visited the World Championship Ice Carving contest. I'll have to post some pics of some of those sculptures - they were really amazing. Unfortunately, more punk teenagers - they seem to run rampant in Fbanks - ran around destroying about 20% of the sculptures, including totally destroying the best one there. By the way, if you ever make it up to Fbanks for the ice sculptures, you MUST find the ice slides. We must have spent upwards of an hour in -25 degrees playing on those things. They don't look very fast, but don't be fooled. I don't do well in that kind of cold, so you know those slides were ridiculously fun because I never once noticed the cold! Thanks Tom, Carrie, Duff, and all the doggies - we had fun!