I had arrived back to Fairbanks from Barrow last Monday but haven't really had that much to say. This morning after meeting with the usual group at College Coffeehouse, I took my mom on a short drive around Fairbanks and out to Chena Hot Springs Resort. (In the truck not the Ural) The Alaska pipeline isn't viewpoint isn't really on the way but it was a nice place to stop.
In town, the leaves are just starting to change but out at the end of the road, the color change was well on its way. But at least they haven't started to fall off yet. After lunch, we just walked around the grounds looking at the outdoor pool, the old log cabins and some of the old mining equipment scattered around.
There are a number of warm creeks, such as this, that stay open (unfrozen) year around. In case I hadn't mentioned it before, this place is even more popular in the winter than the summer. Though the campground is probably pretty deserted in the winter. Today, it wasn't that crowded though my mom did notice that the percentage of Japanese was higher than just about any other tourist place in town.
I just thought that this gives one a good idea on what the Chena Hot Springs grounds are like. The large rocks on the right border the outdoor pool which is much nicer when it's below 0°F. The warm creek is on the left of the trail. Behind me is the trail that heads up to the aurora viewing building up on the hill away from the lights of the resort. It has large, north facing floor to ceiling windows so you can watch the aurora from a warm place.
I've seen this fire-breathing metal sculpture at the state fair and didn't realize that this was its home. No fire breathing at this time though you can see the soot covered mouth. In the background is the newer hotel with modern rooms heated by water from the hot springs. All of the heat and electricity used by the resort is produced on site using the low-temperature (for geothermal) water. This includes the greenhouses that produce fresh vegetables for the restaurant year-around. It is a pretty innovative system.
There are a couple of these "parachute" tents around the property with place for a fire in the base for heat. During peak tourist times, I've seen this use as an alternative to the restaurant. More like a buffet line to serve large numbers of tourist that come by the bus load. I need to send out an email for the "last ride of the season" to the BMW email list. It's sort of a tradition that we ride out to the Hot Springs around the middle of September.