Saturday, September 10, 2016

Postcard from Alaska: Chena Hot Springs

The last few days of our trip were spent at Chena (CHEE-na) Hot Springs, located north of Fairbanks.  It is a popular destination for viewing the Northern Lights because it is out in the wilderness, so it is very dark, yet close enough for a day (or night) visit from Fairbanks.

We were there during their off season so the place was pretty quiet.  Winter, when the Northern Lights are most active, is their busy season.  We bundled up in our jackets and ventured out the first night to see the lights but, despite hanging around until 1:30 am, they didn't do much of anything.  Fortunately, we did see a decent show when we were in Denali so we yawned and trudged back to our warm room.

The next morning we woke to heavy frost everywhere.  It had dipped into the mid-20s overnight and the frost pretty much killed all the flower beds.  The flowers in the back of an old truck were still okay though.

Rather than soak in the hot springs, Brett and I went for a couple hikes.  We walked up the side of the hill to an aurora viewing area.  I was impressed with the fall color.

Brett was quite taken with the outhouse.  I have no idea why.

We also took a pretty trail that followed a gurgling creek.

Brett visited with one of the rental horses.

We visited the goats, and the chickens and the reindeer.  Reindeer, in the US, is the name for domesticated caribou.  In the rest of the world, both domestic and wild are called reindeer.  Reindeer sausage is big in Alaska, appearing on every breakfast menu.  It looks, and tastes, like a hot dog; not bad, just not very interesting.

After our restful time in Chena Hot Springs, we headed home.  It was a wonderful trip, but it's also wonderful to be back home.


  1. Welcome home! It sounds like a great vacation.

  2. Wow - the truck chassis must have held enough heat to make a micro-climate around those petunias.

    Looks like you had a lovely trip. Thanks for sharing, and glad you're home safe and sound. :D

  3. An American in TokyoSeptember 11, 2016 at 5:21 PM

    Sounds like a wonderful place!
    I can't believe you can see the reindeer up close like that! Too cool!

  4. Great trip! Welcome back. Love the truck with the flowers.


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