We have a brief stopover in Anchorage on the way north to Fairbanks. Just enough time to have a short wander through the streets and catch a trolley tour of the town before hitting the pillow cases. Anchorage has a couple of claims to fame. The major one being the victim of a big earthquake in 1964, one of the main streets was split in half with one side dropping 15 ft or so, not sure whether the ‘facts of quantum ‘ here are totally correct. But we did see a section of bushland that had slumped by about that amount due to the quake, quite an impressive sight. The tunnel we had travelled through earlier was not affected. The other famous thing is Anchorage is the traditional start of the Iditarod dog sled race that goes for over a thousand miles into the north-east, takes over 20 days or so to complete. Sometimes the race has to start further north due to lack of snow in various sections. It is a big race, the Melbourne Cup of Alaska!
Anchorage and also the north-west coast of North America shares some common history with Australia. Captain Cook roamed around here on his 3rd voyage looking for the north-west passage. But Anchorage in particular really acknowledges his impact in a big way. There is a statue of him overlooking Cook Inlet, the point where he turned south to Hawaii after abandoning the north-west passage search. Our hotel the ‘Captain Cook, is adorned with all sorts of Cook memorabilia. Bronze busts, copies of famous portraits, an original copy of the book that was published of his voyages, maps and even a copy of the Kangaroo painting are all over the place.
The town has all the usual tourist traps. One in particular was interesting. It sold ‘wool’ and various knitted up items from the Muskox. Proceeds benefit the indigenous people from the north who collect the ‘wool’ during the short period when the Muskox shed it. It is not cheap $US90, about $A120, for one ball of it. Homealone was consequently reluctant to acquire a ball to add to her collection of crafty projects in hand. A modest jumper would require about 16 of these and end up at around $1920…….
The next day we will leave by train to head for Fairbanks. Along the way we overnight a couple of times to view (from various angles) Denali, formerly Mt McKinley. It is North America’s largest peak at 20,320 ft and is claimed to be quite a sight! There are of course a few other things to do as well.