Monday, August 19, 2019

Alaskan Pipeline and Gold Dredge

I had to begin this post with scary fire photos. This is not the lodge fire we experienced in Alaska--see this post to read about that--this was a fire about four to five miles away from where I live!  It occurred in Deer Creek Canyon Park.  The suspicion is that teenagers exploding fireworks caused the fire. It has been hot in the 90s for a while and very dry and windy--all creating high fire danger. I was picking up my granddaughter from school when I took the photo in the upper left of the collage. My heart fell when I saw the smoke and heard the fire engine sirens. I knew it could be disastrous! The other photos were on social media sites for our fire department and sheriff. It took over 100 firefighters, 36 apparatuses and a helicopter to drop water to put out the fire.  Hundreds of homes in the Deer Creek Canyon area were evacuated for safety precautions.  Thankfully, there was no injuries or damage to any structures. We have incredible firefighters and law enforcement officers and they did a wonderful job keeping us all safe. Fire in the west is a persistent danger due to drought and low humidity which dries out the grass and brush. We always have to be vigilant! 



Back to our Alaska land and sea trip! The same day we took the Riverboat Discovery trip in Fairbanks we also had a bus ride to see the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The pipeline was built between 1974 and 1977 after the 1973 oil crisis caused a sharp rise in oil prices in the United States.  It is one of the world's largest pipeline systems.




Please click on photo to enlarge it to read facts about the pipeline.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline travels 800 miles (1,287 km), has a diameter of 48 inches (1.22 m) and conveys oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska. The crude oil pipeline is privately owned by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company


A cross-section view of the pipeline

Construction of the pipeline was challenging due to the extremely cold Alaska winter weather, isolated wilderness, and permafrost. The project attracted tens of thousands of workers to Alaska, most who settled in Valdez, Fairbanks, and Anchorage. Every year Alaskan residents get to share oil revenue from the Alaska Permanent Fund. The amount paid to each citizen varies year to year, depending on the value of the state's vast oil reserves. 2015 saw the highest ever payout of $2,072 (£1,550) per citizen.



The next place that our tour brought us to was the Gold Dredge 8 National Historic District in Fox, Alaska.  There we rode aboard a replica of the narrow-gauge Tanana Valley Railroad and heard the conductor tell tales of prospectors who arrived by the thousands during the Fairbanks Gold Rush. We saw first-hand how the dredge worked the Alaska goldfields. The ladder dredge operated by the Fairbanks Exploration Company from 1928 to 1959. 




At the Gold Dredge 8 camp, we were given instructions on how to pan for gold.  It was fun trying to separate the gold flakes from the rocks and water.



These tiny gold pieces were the end results of my panning.




My husband and I combined our pieces of gold and brought them to be weighed, where we were told we had $27 worth of gold. The pieces can be added to earrings or a necklace sold at the camp but we opted to just bring them home as souvenirs.  There was a nice gift shop at the camp and I bought other souvenirs, and we enjoyed the free hot chocolate and cookies offered to the customers.



Please click on photo to enlarge to read the timeline of gold discoveries in Alaska.

The search for gold opened many a western territory to exploration and settlement and it was interesting to step back in time to see a historic portion of the Fairbanks gold rush!  The next day we would visit Denali National Park--my next post.

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39 comments:

Sarah said...

Pat, I'm very grateful that the fire was contained and there was no loss of life or damage to the homes. I was worried about you being so close. Thanks for sharing your travel photos. I always learn so much from your posts.
Hope life is good and that you are feeling better.

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Thanks so much for linking up your post at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 3! Glad the fire was put out and all was saved. We've panned for gold before with our grandbabies. Fun times. Shared.

Gillena Cox said...

Scary indeed. Glad things are in good hands
Happy Mosaic Monday

Much❤🕊❤love

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat

The wildfire so close to you home must have been scary. I am glad for the firefighter and that everyone was safe. I have never been a fan of the Pipeline, mainly due to the leaks and damage they do. Panning for the gold looks like a fun time. Alaska is a beautiful state. Great trip photos. Have a happy day and a great new week!

riitta k said...

What a dreadful sight that fire was! Luckily they got it unde control. Congratulations - you found gold! You can let make some bijou later.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I'm so happy the fire was contained and you're safe and sound!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Great pipeline and gold panning photos. I'm hoping that the day will come when we can abandon that pipeline and depend entirely on alternative fuels.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I am so glad that the fire was put out without anyone getting hurt! Your trip sounds like so much fun.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

I can only imagine how frightening seeing the fire must have been. Will be home visiting the Rockies next month and this year we'll probably not be in Clear Creek Canyon gold panning. Ron says it's pretty well worked out. We had some grand summers on the river there with the kids helping Dad pan. Ron is a 49er born 100 years too late.
Have a wonderful week!

Tom said...

...well let me tell you, I would never have the patience to pan for gold!

Tamar SB said...

What interesting things to learn!

Ruth Hiebert said...

Fascinating experiences in Alaska.I would love to visit that area sometime, but may have to settle for reading about your experiences.

Lorrie said...

I'm so glad the fire was quickly contained - forest fires can be so very devastating.
Both the pipeline and the gold panning are interesting to learn about. My husband once spent a summer panning for gold in the Yukon for a geological survey company.

Linda W. said...

Glad the forest fire in your neighborhood was brought under control quickly! Enjoyed your latest post about your Alaska adventure!

Janice said...

Nicely done photos! Glad you and those around you were safe.

Mother of 3 said...

So glad the fire was contained quickly! My oldest son just LOVES the show Gold Rush and has been wanting to go to Alaska and pan for gold pretty much since the show aired. He would have loved this day. I can't wait to read all about the rest of your Alaskan Adventures.

NCSue said...

I've never even been able to pan fools gold - I found I haven't got the gift (or perhaps not a good spot for gold mining).
Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/08/faces-of-forrest.html

Lowcarb team member said...

Those fire pictures look very scary, I'm so pleased the fire was quickly contained. Panning for gold looks fun. All your trip photographs are lovely to see.

Hope this new week goes well for you.

All the best Jan

William Kendall said...

The story of the Klondike is one of those fascinating stories that crosses national borders. As was often the case with such things, only a handful of prospectors got rich directly. The others who got rich were those providing goods and services.

Powell River Books said...

We been lucky this year with reduced fires and smoke form interior fires here in Coastal BC. We've had more summer rain this year than I can remember for many years. I remember panning for gold when I was a kid at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. Back then it wasn't the amusement park it is today. It had a wild west theme and the best fried chicken restaurant. - Margy

Angie said...

Pat - 4 to 5 miles is just a little too close for comfort - were you evacuated? Were they able to find (and fine) the teenagers? I can only imagine what this cost! Our fire season has been (knock on wood) fairly calm so far … Pipelines scare me - did they talk about their safety record? Panning for gold - how exciting! As we drive around, I have seen signs about gold panning - you can do it here on public land! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

Lady Fi said...

Interesting history - but shame about the fire!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

That fire being so close was scary, I'll bet. Re: the pipeline, I remember all the controversy surrounding the construction of the pipeline. I'm glad to know that residents receive funds from the oil all these years later.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Fireworks caused a devastating fire in the Pacific Northwest U.S. last year. You have to wonder how people could be so careless!
I was working for Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) back when the Alyeska Pipeline was first underway. Exciting times for the company.

judee said...

Sounds like a fun trip in Alaska. Very sad about the fires..

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Glad to hear the fire was quickly contained. I live in California and dislike the fireworks season. People go crazy with both legal and illegal fireworks. It really doesn't make sense to sell them in our dry climate and surrounding dried fields and hillsides.

podso said...

It seems so many people we know are taking trips to AK this summer! I always am interested in the state as my cousins grew up there until college age, and I remember when it became a state. One cousin just moved back there for her retirement years. They just love Alaska!

Alycia Quiltygirl.com said...

Oh I am with you - fire is so scary! Just over a year ago a fire got our back pastures - so we are getting a little concerned with the dry and heat!

Love your photos of Alaska!

Vee said...

Twenty-seven dollars! That's great. ☺ I remember panning for gold in a river so cold that I thought that my hands would freeze off. Swift River in western Maine. My mother actually found a goodly sized nugget. I wonder where it is today.

Oh that fire would have been scary. I am so glad that the professionals were on the job and got it under control as quickly as they did.

Hope that you've been having a wonderful summer, Pat.

betty-NZ said...

I'm sure the fires can be very scary! I'm glad they got it under control.
Your Alaska trip looks like a lot of fun along with learning about history, too.

Your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week sure made my day!


My Corner of the World

likeschocolate said...

I was in Alaska last week, but at that time there were only a few fires now it has gotten crazy. hope they get some rain soon. It is such a gorgeous place.

Michelle said...

I have been to Colorado several time with my husband, tagging along on a business trip. Now I know I need to pan for gold! I have missed this event! Thanks for linking up today!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

That fire looks way too close!! Congratulations on your gold flakes. I've always wanted to try it, but never have.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I knew several people who worked on the Alaska Pipeline. It was quite the production. The Union that represented the welders was AFL CIO Local 798 here in Tulsa. They still represent most of the welders on the big pipeline jobs in the country.

Mining kind of opened the west as well as Alaska. My grandfather on my mother's side was a powderman and worked in various mines all over the west.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How scary to have the fire so close to your house! It's always a danger no matter where you live! Love seeing more of your Alaska adventure! I want to GO!!! Hugs!

Jeanie said...

First of all, the fire. That had to be a total freak out, being close enough to see that much flame. Grateful it didn't encroach too much. The pipeline looks interesting; the panning for gold tons of fun! I love it!

Esha said...

The fire looked scary. So glad that it was contained and that there was no loss of life!! It must have been a very novel experience panning for the gold. Alaska is so beautiful...wish I could go there someday. Thanks for linking up for #ww. Have a great week ahead.

Rambling Woods said...

Once in a lifetime trip....Michelle

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I’m so glad the fire was contained with no injuries. And hope there are no more . It is SO dry....even here in Oregon. You had some great experiences on your tour. We drove along miles of the pipeline. I thought it was interesting that they built gaps in it for Caribou crossings (iI is on their migration path and grazing lands) but the Caribou didn’t need them, they can apparently just slither under the pipes.