The ninth day of our Alaskan vacation was to be filled with the quest for gold and a river cruise! First, however, we stopped for a photo op at a public viewing section of the Alaska Pipeline.
Following our close encounter with the famous pipeline, we motored down the highway headed for two exciting excursions our tour company had planned. The first was a tour of the El Dorado Gold Mine at Fox, Alaska. This adventure included a narrated tour on the Tanana Valley Railroad with Earl Hughes, “Alaska’s Ambassador of Country Music.”
We were then treated to an authentic gold panning demonstration, and then handed a pan and a bag of “pay dirt”. Our guides helped us through the tedious process, but the payoff was real for all who gave it a try. Most in our group coming up with anywhere from $6 to $30 dollars worth of gold flakes to as much as $63 dollars in flakes and tiny nuggets for our travel partners Buck and Gwen!
Afterwards we roamed the Discovery Trading Post and Gift Shop, some having their bounty mounted in jewelry.
It was then time to eat! Our scheduled meal stop turned out to be my favorite so far on this great trip, lunch at The Pump House Restaurant. This location was originally built to pump water to gold dredging operations and now listed as a National Historic Site. The food was awesome, but the desserts were even better!
Following lunch, we all headed for the second half of our day of excitement, The Discovery Sternwheeler boat cruise on the Chena and Tanana Rivers! This narrated experience included amazing scenery and took us to fascinating demonstrations of Native American life past and present along these famous Alaskan waterways!
Day ten we say so long to Fairbanks and hit the highway toward a journey south through one of America’s crown jewels, Denali National Park and Reserve in the heart of Alaska!
Rusty's Entire Alaskan Travel Blog
Part 1 - Seattle
Part 2 - Vancouver
Part 3 - “The Inside Passage”
Part 4 - Ketchikan
Part 5 - Juneau
Part 6 - The White Pass and Yukon Narrow Gauge
Part 7 - Canadian Yukon
Part 8 - Fairbanks
Part 9 - Panning for Gold
Part 10 - Denali
Part 11 - Mt. McKinley and Wasilla
Part 12 - Anchorage and Prince William Sound