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Fairbanks

What a beautiful day we had for a boat ride on the Chena River! We headed out for the boat fairly early because we knew there was a humongous gift shop there, and it did not disappoint. After good shopping and ice cream, we boarded the authentic stern wheeler, Discovery III, and started our awesome journey. The first excitement of the trip came when a Piper Super Cub buzzed the boat then demonstrated a landing and take-off from the water right beside us. Next we stopped at Susan Butcher's home and kennels, and her husband, David Monson, came out and talked to us. Susan and her lead dog, Granite, won the Iditarod 4 times, but unfortunately she died from leukemia in 2006. We saw a dog and her litter of puppies swimming in the river, and then David did a demonstration of how the dogs work a sled by having them pull an ATV around a gravel drive on the property. It was amazing to see how anxious the dogs were to pull and run, and how fast they could go. The narrator gave us lots of info about the land, the animals that live here, and especially the natives who originally settled in this area. There were even teen aged kids of Athabaskan and other Indian and Eskimo descent aboard who told us about their heritage and served as guides at the authentic Native American village which was our next stop. The kids did a great job of explaining how their ancestors managed to live and prosper in this harsh land. A trip on the Discovery is a "must do" for anyone visiting Fairbanks.

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