Guy Stuff To Do in Our Area

If you’re used to having a tough time finding manly men things to do on vacations, Alaska is just the opposite! This is not a lace-doily-inn-and-afternoon-tea kind of place. Here’s a list of things to do in our area that are great for the fellows in the group!

–Fishing is the most obvious pasttime around us. Call up Andy at Fishtales for a charter float trip for salmon. You can try to decipher the complex regulations at our numberous rivers and streams yourself. Numerous sportsgoods stores are within a couple miles of Alaska Garden Gate B&B: Wal-Mart, Sportsmans Warehouse, and Sears, if you want to buy a set up once you get here. A great shop and the local experts for what’s running when and where are Three Rivers Fly & Tackle in Wasilla.

The Museum of Transportation & Industry in Wasilla is a fascinating place to learn about the making of the Alcan or how railroads were laid in Alaska. The Valley’s farm history is represented by an original Colony barn which was moved there this past summer. See examples of the early farmers’ ingenuity: there are several steam-powered, hand-built and -engineered tractors which they needed in a place where it was prohibitively expensive to freight up farm tractors and implements in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

–If you’re into seeing what crops are grown here, you can take a driving tour to Farm Loop, the Inner and Outer Springer Loops by the Alaska State Fairgrounds, and right around Alaska Garden Gate B&B. The UAF Experimental Farm is just down the hill from the B&B. My next door neighbors have several hundred acres and still farm. The Dearborns sell produce and plants from their potato fields, tomatoes grown in wood-heated greenhouses, and their thumb-sized delicious raspberries are in high demand, too. Dr. Dearborn and Doris moved to Alaska in the 1940’s from Maine, and he worked as an tree guy at the UAF Experimental Farm. Several of the tree specimens in my lawn are ones he developed, such as the larch which loses its needles every year. Dr. Dearborn was the first person to pioneer growing apples in Alaska. Most anyone with apple trees in the state have come from the Dearborns. I have two of their trees, which produce branch-sagging amounts of small red apples named for the Dearborn sons.

–Hatcher Pass is a great place to get rugged. The Independence Mine historic buildings are interesting to learn about. There are areas open to gold panning which still produce flecks and sometimes nuggets. A couple years ago, a local hiker happened upon a nearly-pure nugget the size of a potato. It was on land which had a claim. He reported the nugget to the claim owners. They said they would let him keep it if he would lead them back to where he found it, so they could search further for a vein. WalMart and Sportsmans Warehouse sell gold pans for a couple bucks each. My cousin Mike had a great time panning for an afternoon when he was up here. There are also many awesome trails for hiking which lead to hidden lakes and glaciers.

–The Anchorage Museum has awesome displays about the role oil has played in the development of the state, and the Native Heritage Center is full of interesting information about native cultures.

–At the B&B, there is a great selection of videos to borrow on the making of the Pipeline, laying the Alaska Highway, about the Iditarod sled dog race, and about Alaska Wildlife.

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