Jeanie Neal Face-Up First
We swim for good times!®

Alaska Adventure

More dogs, Santa, and the Park...


I headed north again on the Parks Highway on my Saturday off. This time I stopped in Nenana, home of the Nenana Ice Classic in which individuals attempt to guess the exact time the Tanana River ice will break up at Nenana. A line is attached to the top of a huge tripod and once that end is anchored the other end is taken to the Ice Classic tower nearby on the banks of the river. It is attached there to the clock inside the tower, when the ice goes out and moves the tripod 100 feet the line breaks and stops the clock. The Nenana Ice Classic is a non-profit organization, and the proceeds benefit many volunteer and non-profit organizations. This spring there was a single winner who took home a jackpot of $311,652. 2019 was the earliest break up in the history of the event which started in 1917. My photo is of a small “tripod” I drove by on a street in Nenana. The one used in the event is much larger.

Then it was on to North Pole, Alaska, where I saw candy cane street lights, reindeer, and met you-know-who. Santa Claus House Christmas came early when I spotted a Starbucks.

Sunday evening, I took my first drive through the Park. I learned that during this time of year, you don’t have to stop at Savage River (mile 15), you can continue on to the Teklanika River at mile 30. I took a photo of Vanderley at the “end of the road” for me. I’m glad I got to get off the pavement and drive farther through the park than I expected.

At one of the overlooks along the road on the way to Tek, I met a kind woman named Suzanne, from Whittier, Alaska. She shared her binoculars and pointed out the brown bears that were some distance away, but still right in front of me! You’ll have to take my word for it. Even I can’t make out the bears in my photos. (I circled the spot where they are on the photo.) I’m going to have to get a camera. Everywhere you look, you want to take a photo. She also told me about the tunnel to her town of Whittier. When the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel opened to public access in 2000, it became the first highway to connect Whittier to Anchorage and inner Alaska—previously, the only ways to reach the town had been rail, boat and plane. It’s a one-lane tunnel, so traffic lanes have to take turn going through. It’s the longest (2.5 miles) highway tunnel in North America, and the first designed for -40 Fahrenheit temperatures and 150 mph winds. I’m adding that to my list of things to experience this summer, even though even thinking about going through kinda makes me nervous.

Denali is the only national park with a kennel of sled dogs.  I saw several people walking the dogs along the Park Road. This link is not Husky Homestead related, but I thought this series of videos about Denali Park puppies might be fun for the FUF kids. Puppy Paws Episode 1

This week at work has been filled with training in the reservations office and getting familiar with the tour. I also went to “Dog School,” and learned how to interact with the adult dogs so that I can get to know each of them. I was able to attend several practice tours - more puppy cuddling. The teamwork the staff demonstrates is awesome. They tell a fascinating story, and put on an entertaining show.

More training to finish out this week and then 130 straight days of tours begins on Sunday. I highly recommend visiting Husky Homestead!

I find I’m up until midnight every night because it’s so light outside. I’m going to have to change that and make myself go to bed earlier. The photos taken at the park were all taken after 9:00 PM.

I’m missing everyone. After this week, I think every day will be a record for being away from a pool.

Thanks for following along.

PS Registration is open for my fall lessons. I’ll be back!

Keep swimming for good times.

Face-Up First