Outside of Fairbanks

For our day off today, we drove out into the country. Our first stop was the Alaska Pipeline. I learned that the reason it is above ground is because the oil is warm (about 100 degrees F) as it flows through the pipe. The ground, however, is frozen permafrost. If the pipeline were buried it would thaw the ground and ┬ámake it unstable. I hadn’t thought of that before. I guess I figured it was the other way around– that the ground would make the oil too cold. But no. A stream ran parallel to the Pipeline. It was still frozen along the edges. We were fascinated with the ice crystals. So delicate and beautiful. Then we drove up to the Chena Hot Springs Resort, about an hour outside of Fairbanks. We ate lunch there and enjoyed walking around. There were several old vehicles of various kinds, just rusting away… lots of log buildings with moose racks galore… and pen of reindeer sleeping under trees… another pen of chickens and goats hanging out together. Just random, interesting stuff. We didn’t get into the hot springs, but we dipped our hands in to see if it really was “hot.” It was. It also smelled like sulphur. The middle picture is the “ice skating pond.” I decided my ice skates probably wouldn’t work on it in that condition. It was a fun, relaxing day. Tomorrow we’ll be back to work at the Fairbanks IDEA convention.