13 July, 1999
Aloha from Alaska.
It is 11:22 PM Alaska time and it looks like it is 6:30 PM in Hawaii. I am physically exhausted by today's travel, but excited. Renee met me at the Fairbanks Airport after a great trip--the day had opened with a sunrise over San Francisco Bay and then my sky journey up the coast through Puget Sound, British Columbia, and then Alaska, the land of glaciers. Alaska has over 100's of active glaciers; these great rivers of ice are easily visible from the sky as they cascade through the continent into the ocean. Rising above this stand Mount Denali and her sister mountain like two giant bookends with foothills stacked in between and along side.
Renee drove me over to the University of Fairbanks after I had deposited my belongings at the bed and breakfast located on the Chena River. The University has a great view perched above the rest of Fairbanks. I noticed land was not a premium as the city was very spread out and not made for pedestrians, but for the bicyclist, as well as cross country skiier during the winter, with well kept paths next to the major roads.
The University also houses a small, but well organized museum that features Alaskan natural and human history. It explores the early geological time up to the present pipeline. In the center of Alaska during the ice ages was a refugia, an area not covered by the glaciers, and home to the american lion, woolly mammoth and mastadon whose bones have been found in the permanently frozenground or permafrost. Many of these bones were excavated during the gold rush era as a bi-product of mining in the 1800's.
There are also many Eskimo artifacts. The Eskimos or Inupiat and Yupik of Alaska are related to the Inuit of Greenland, Canada and Siberia. Eskimo is a term meaning meat eaters and was used by the Europenas sailors because of dietary habits of these peoples which include the eating of seal, walrus, musk oxen, whale, fox, bear, salmon, birds and their eggs to the exclusion of fruits and vegetables. It would be interesting to compare the vitamin and mineral sources of this diet with that of a students. Inuit means the human beings. I believe it to mean a kind of affirmation of being special people.
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