The Alaskan Adventure - 72 Days - 6,264 Miles

Fairbanks, Alaska - Part B

August 3 - 6, 2004

River's Edge RV Park

Back to the Alaska Travel Directory

We are still on the paddleboat river cruise.

The Athabascan Indians live in very remote villages. Their only method of transportation to larger towns is by foot, water, or bush pilot. All food and clothing which they do not make, hunt, fish, or grow must be flown in.

An Athabascan Indian fish camp.
We watched a woman clean a 25 pound salmon in just 30 seconds and hang it out to dry. Behind her is a drying rack. They only keep the fish on the drying rack for 2 or 3 hours. Then they are moved into the smoke house in the background.
The fixture standing in the gray silt filled river is called a Salmon Wheel.

A Salmon Wheel
You can't tell it in the picture, but the water is very moving fast. The Salmon Wheel is floating on a raft structure which can be moved away from the shore using the two poles and ropes which are attached to it.
The rushing water pushes against the baskets and paddles which cause the wheel to continuously rotate. When salmon swim up stream for spawning they get caught in the basket. As the basket rotates the fish is dumped into a trough where it slides down into a basket. When salmon are running these wheels can catch over 200 fish an hour.
Only the indians are allowed to use Salmon Wheels, and only for food for their village.

One of several hand made Athabascan Indian outfits which were shown and described to us. This one is modeled by an Athabascan Indian girl.
Note the sod roof on the hut. This house is lived in by a indian family who work the salmon wheel and sew clothing. We were also shown and felt many different animal pelts. We were surprised that the beaver fur was the softest. Much softer then the mink.

I thought that reindeer were only at the North Pole with Santa.
Reindeer are not native to Alaska or Canada. They are cousins to the caribou and were brought into Alaska and Canada by European traders back in the 1800's.

One of the many large heads of cabbage growing in the indian garden.
The growing season is short but the days are very long. The long days, good soil, and the right amount of water make a good growing environment.

Back to the Alaska Travel Directory