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"The Chena Riverwalk makes for a relaxing self-paced stroll along   
the Chena River and through the most scenic parks and plazas of historic   
downtown.  It's best when flowers are in full bloom (July-August)."
~ from the Alaska.org website
We probably missed the peak but there are still lots of flowers blooming along the Chena Riverwalk, including the Golden Heart Plaza and the grounds of the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitor Center.

Colorful dahlias thrive in a display in the plaza by the river.

This shrub still has plenty of pretty yellow flowers.

An added bonus of visiting Fairbanks in early September is the beginning of autumn leaf color. Many of the leaves in town are still green, though.


After I visited the Thompson Center on Monday I took Cody for a walk on the nearby Chena Riverwalk. I enjoyed both the cultural/visitor center and the river walk so much that I went back on Tuesday so I could show them to Jim.

My photos from the second day look better because the sun was shining. I'm including pictures from both days in this entry to show some of the things we saw along the way.

Bike path through Griffin Park

The multi-use, paved Chena Riverwalk extends about 3 miles one way from Pioneer Park to Airport Way on the south side of the Chena River. You can access it just about anywhere along the river on foot or bike. It also connects with other bike and walking paths.

I smiled when I saw several of these distinctive bike racks at various places along the pathway:

There are several vehicular bridges crossing the river and at least one pedestrian bridge, the William Wood Memorial Foot Bridge near the WWII Lend-Lease monument:

Both days I parked near the Thompson Center, went through the antler arch, and walked out and back on the river walk past Griffin Park to the vehicle bridge with all the flags at Cushman Street.

Jim walked with me on the second day. It's only about a mile roundtrip. After eating lunch downtown he rode his bike the whole length of the river walk -- and many more miles around town -- while Cody and I explored the trails at Creamer's Field (that's the subject of the next entry).

There are lots of interesting things in the short section of the Riverwalk that I've seen, including this arch made of moose and caribou antlers:

I talked more about the arch in the last entry.


Griffin Park has many acres of lush green grass:

Near the western end of the park I came to the handsome pedestrian bridge:



View west from the foot bridge

View east from the foot bridge; the WWII monument is to the right.


I wandered through the nicely landscaped WWII Lend-Lease monument both days and Jim enjoyed seeing it, too:




It is a nice tribute to those who served in the war and to our allies.


The next set of photos continues west past the pedestrian bridge toward downtown's most impressive plaza:


Jim and Cody inspect an old anchor.

I like this handsome clock tower along the Chena Riverwalk:


The clock is near one entrance to the Golden Heart Plaza, a large, attractive gathering place for residents and visitors when the weather is nice. It is bounded by the river (and river walk) on the north, 1st Avenue on the south, and Cushman Street to the west.

The centerpiece of the plaza is a large sculpture and fountain surrounded by several dozen bronze historical plaques:

I just happened to see the plaza the first time when several vendors were setting up their booths for the Monday Market, held each Monday afternoon during the summer and early fall from 4-8 PM.

I was there too early to see all the produce, artwork, professional photos, and handmade items for sale but I perused some of the items while the vendors were putting them out for display:



The market isn't there on Tuesday so other views of the area that I took when Jim was there with me don't show any canopies:




Continuing west along the river side of the plaza I came close to the festive Cushman Bridge, distinctive for its fifty colorful state flags:



The bridge was built across the Chena River in 1917; the flags were added in 1984 to commemorate Alaska's 25th year of statehood.

At the west end of the plaza near the bridge is this 12-foot tower similar to the Mile 0 milepost we saw at the beginning of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, British Columbia:

Technically, the Alaska Highway ends in Delta Junction, Alaska, at MM 1422.

Since so many visitors continue another 95 miles west to the city of Fairbanks on the Richardson Hwy., the Golden Heart City -- and The Milepost book or website that most travelers consult --  consider Fairbanks as the de facto end of the Alaska Hwy.

The mile post is interesting because it has distances in miles and kilometers from Fairbanks to other cities in Alaska and around the world -- just like the one in Dawson Creek. I'm guessing we'll see another similar one in Delta Junction when we pass through there on our way east out of Alaska in a few days.


You can see the log cabin housing the Yukon Quest sled dog race HQ and store from most parts of the plaza. It is near the Cushman Bridge and mile post shown above.

The building was closed on Monday but I walked around the exterior to read the signs:


The building was open on Tuesday when Jim was with me so we went inside with Cody. There is a cute sign at the door that says dogs may enter the building if their owners are on a leash!

The Yukon Quest race, held in February, runs about 1,000 miles on historic trails between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. The course reverses direction each year. You can read more about it here.

Next entryexploring Creamer's Field, renowned for its migrating sandhill cranes (it also has lots of other birds and miles of nice trails)

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the ultra Lab

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2012 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil