After my quick, leisurely hike around Eagle river, I make it back to the car and GPS the route to my next destination for a couple of days, Fairbanks. I have eight hours of driving time, but with the long hours of daylight up here, I am not worried about driving in the darkness through the wilderness. Still feeling weak and skittish but in fairly good spirits, I head out on the highway.
It’s mid-day when I come to a rest stop. The clear blue sky gives me my first glimpse at Denali, not realizing at the time how lucky I am to be able to see the entirety of the mountain. The long drive goes fairly quickly, as I soak in the wild wonder of the landscapes around me, spotting wildlife and imagining climbing the majestic peaks before me.
I had found a yurt just outside of the city up in the hills. It has all of the comforts and accommodations I would need, with the feeling of being truly out in nature. The owner’s dogs become my companions as I settle in for the evening after my long drive.
I set up a night time lapse camera with the slim chance of trying to capture the Aurora Borealis. The season is just starting for this phenomenon, but maybe I’ll get lucky. I sleep well, dreaming of what may be happening in the skies above.
The next day I decide to head on out to Cheena Hot Springs. I’ve always wanted to go here in the dead of winter, imagining the icicles forming on my beard as I soak in the spring with snow covered trees all around me. Who knows what this place would be like in August….
The road out to Cheena is long and lonely, and a couple times I turn around thinking that I’m going down the wrong path. Eventually though I learn that Cheena is located at the very end of the fifty mile drive. Upon my arrival, the hot springs is not at all what I had imagined. The area itself is beautiful, but I’m just not feeling the vibe. Perhaps it’s the properties lack of respecting the Covid virus, or the touristy prices for experiences that didn’t feel like the Alaskan experience I was looking for. So I wander around for a bit, then leave.
I head towards downtown to find a place to eat and explore more of the city. Covid has most places closed still, but I do eventually find a Vietnamese place to get some Pho. With a full belly I wander the streets. I love the sky out here, as you feel so close to the clouds, and the light is truly radiant. I wouldn’t say I immediately fell in love with Fairbanks, but it was interesting. My meds though have me feeling tired, and so I head on back to the yurt to rest up.
Still nervous that I may re-injure myself, I take it very easy up here. Two days of mostly just taking in the scenery from my front porch, watching time tick by through the trees.
I take a look at my time lapse and see that the Aurora did pay me a visit, which makes the long trip up here worth every second.