"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fairbanks- the Golden Heart City

Since the topic of the past few days has been about celebrating the discovery of gold in these hills of Fairbanks, we became 100% tourists and headed to the Discovery Gold Mine.
Such a well done little adventure, the train led us into a mine and small dredging operation and to a replica of an old miner's cabin by his own personal gold stream.

This old sourdough told us the details of a placer mine and all of the hard work it
involved yet very few of these early adventurers became rich.
Or, if they DID strike gold, their dreams turned sour as they lost all their
money through swindlers, women, or drunkenness.

On the way to try our hand with a tin pan and nicely warmed "stream", the old sourdough gave me some tips on seeking my fortune in gold. Since he didn't appear all that wealthy,
I didn't take his advice to heart.
But we did find a few gold flakes in our efforts and were satisfied with them.

Recently we had a nice Sunday brunch at the Pump House Restaurant.
We sat on the deck overlooking the Chena River and watched kayaks, canoes, motorboats and the big paddlewheel boat of tourists sail by, waving to all of them.
This location just happens to be the actual pumping station that sent water from the river
up the hills so that gold dredging could take place.
It is also the restaurant where Josh and Kathleen had their wedding reception dinner.

On the restaurant grounds are pieces of equipment from the "olden"
days when the pump house worked to find gold.
This is one of the water pipes that eroded the mine walls of the softer rock,
exposing the strains of gold in its beauty.

And this is a giant dredge that dragged the dirt and crushed stone from within the mine.

The iron chain needed to carry the weight of this dredge and its load was huge!
(Now that's a real ball and chain!)

We posed for a picture on the deck after we had eaten.
This birch tree has been carved with a picture of Felix Pedro, the man
who first found gold here.

This friendly man is no one we know.
He just jumped in to the picture and made us laugh.
It was a good day on the river.

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