Part 4.

Days 9 to 13, of our Alaskan and Canadian Adventure.

Date : Friday 9th to Tuesday Feb 13th, 2007

Places visited : Nome Alaska to Banff in the Canadian Rockies, via Vancouver.

Distance travelled : 8 miles on a bike, various foot miles round towns, and miles and miles by air (about another 2100 in total ).

Weather : From a cold and dry Nome City we travelled south to Vancouver where it was mild and maritime.

A day in Nome, starting with a name check.



We arrived in Nome on the morning flight from St Michael, after our week with Jerry Austin, his family and his wonderful sled dogs.

On the way across, we were able to look down on the the frozen Bering Sea below.

The sun had risen during the flight and I noticed out of the front windscreen that as we flew through a thin patch of cloud we experienced what's known as a Brocken Spectre.

In the hills, this unusual visual effect includes a shadow of a person (yourself) surrounded by a rainbow circle.

Here in the air, we had the same effect,

but I'm sure that the shadow in the centre looks like the aircraft !

Final approach to Nome. The town is the greyish rectangular area next to the coast, and the runway dead ahead beyond the red lights.

The island to the right catching the sun, was called Sledge Island. Russia is the next land mass westward, about 160 miles away.

We had an evening flight to catch to take us south to Vancouver on the next part of our holiday.

Before then Manny and ourselves had most of the day to explore this old Gold Rush township.

It was now a major residential and commercial centre for the area and one of the last outposts on the Alaska Peninsular.


In view of the size of the town, and the fact that we had plenty of time to see it, we decided to walk in, passing the impressive town sign on the way.

No doubting where we were.


Manny and Ann taking time out for a photo.


The Snake River estuary, frozen for about eight months of the year.

The harbour is also totally inaccessible due to the sea ice extending out several miles into the bay.


The main square in the top of town has a giant Gold Pan, and statues to the Three Swedes who first discovered gold in the area.

The town developed rapidly at the start of the 20th century (1899 - 1901) to accommodate an influx of over 10,000 people, each in search of their own fortunes.

Nome is also the end of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race which takes place in March each year.

We covered 100 miles during our week, doing about four hours or so each day with four to six dogs.

The Race is approximately 1049 miles long, and the Mushers travel with his or her16 dog sleds a gruelling 12 hour out of every 24.

The town slides this triumphal arch out into the street to welcome home the successful entrants. They deserve it.

The Town Hall behind was also the site of "Dexter",

Wyatt Earp's Hotel and Bar, that he set up in Nome

after moving from St Michael.


There was often more money in providing accommodation and alcohol

than there ever was in digging gold.

The Nugget Inn, one of the old heritage buildings in town, is still a working hotel today.

Nome Webcam pointing at the Information Centre (normal view) and a still photo from 14th March, at the finish of the Iditarod Race (The Nugget Inn.)

One of the competitors has just arrived in at 9.35 am (see crowd to the right)

The Signpost at the Nugget Inn.
Click here or on either photo for a current image.

On the seafront was the Carrie M McClain Museum.

There were lots of old photos, well written stories and an excellent collection of memorabilia from the town down through the years

Gold was the driving force that built the town.
One of the roulette wheels from a turn of the century gambling house.

Fat Freddie's.

We never made it for breakfast a week ago. Chance to put that to right today with a lunchtime visit instead.

The view from the front of Fat Freddie's - the beach and the frozen sea. It was as cold as it looked !

Daytime in Front Street, Nome.

Hold your curser over the photo for typical view for the other sixteen hours of the day.

We returned to Nome airport soon after eight in the evening for a 9.15 flight to Anchorage.

Unfortunately the plane was three hours behind schedule and hadn't yet left Anchorage in order to get to Nome and turn round for the flight back.

This was Anchorage airport at 3 am when we finally arrived at our destination. There was just six hours left to get to the hotel, sleep, wake up again, shower, breakfast and get back to the airport to catch the next flight south to Vancouver.

But we made it !

The Coastal Divide mountains as we fly south at about 30,000 feet.

Brilliant blues and whites and a huge glacier leading into the interior.

Seattle dock lands as we flew in.

Downtown Seattle, USA.

This was a brief touchdown in order to change flights for the short hop north to Vancouver, and our entry into Canada.

The Vancouver skyline as we are driven to our accommodation.
O'Canada House a luxury Vancouver bed and breakfast.


Grand interiors of this 1897 heritage home.

Now a guest house, it has the claim to fame of being the house where the Canadian National Anthem, O'Canada, was first composed.

There were fourteen guests for breakfast the first morning,

but then we had the place to ourselves for the next two nights.

Sheer luxury.


Sunday morning, and time to explore the city. We were recommended a town tour, starting at Granville Island.

This is the impressive Burrard Bridge, one of two major road bridges into the city centre.

A short walk brought us to False Creek ( It was a dead end channel for early explorers rather than a way north up the coast.)

Here we caught the small ferry across to Granville Island opposite.

Inside the old dockland warehouses
Now a cosmopolitan fruit and veg market

The Public Market was in fact a compete amalgam of small shops, stalls and cafes serving all sorts of delicious food.

We stopped for a most superb Sushi lunch at a very reasonable price and were entertained by music from two great "street buskers" too.

A view of the modern high rise city and the second bridge.

What was different about Vancouver was that the majority of these high rise were residential and not business.

Vancouver therefore was bustling with people, shops and an almost overwhelming choice of places to eat out.

Another view from under Granville Bridge.
The local road utilising the space under the bridge.


After lunch we abandoned cross town walking

in favour of the hop-on / hop-off tourist bus.

It took us the rest of the way round the city using

an environmentally green gas powered engine.

The Science Centre on the old " Expo 86 " (World Fair) Site.

The Millennium Arch at the entrance to China Town

Sun Yat - Sen is considered the founder of modern China.

He struggled to established the Chinese Republic, and was it's first President in 1912.

His principles of Nationalism, democracy and equalisation were later adopted by Chiang Kai-Sheck in 1928 and subsequently by Mao Tse-tung.

He died in 1924, and these gardens, again built for the 86 Worlds Fair, were dedicated to him.

Tranquility in a busy city.
Decorated lamp posts in China Town.



One of the features of the centre of old Vancouver is the Gastown Clock.

A strange looking object with the steam escaping from its top.

It is one of the highlights of the recently renovated

Gastown, the original heart of the old city.


Next day we took ourselves off to Stanley Park
first walking down through the northern side of town.

Here we hired a tandem for a ride around the park.

This was our first ever tandem ride - it was an experience to say the least - we neither fell out nor fell off !

Totem Poles in Stanley Park
Vancouver's "Girl in a Wet Suit" plus a seagull.

Stanley Park was an important Native Canadian area, with evidence of habitation going back thousands of years.

The harbour to the north side is an important anchorage for the Cruise Liners who tour the coast between here and Alaska, and it is also used commercially by industry and commerce. There is an large dock land, and opposite is a large storage area. The yellow is what I presume are stockpiles of Sulpur raw material.

Within Stanley Park is the Vancouver Aquarium, so we parked the bike and spent an enjoyable hour looking at the exhibits.

Above : Delicate Jellyfish

Left : An even smaller and more delicate Sea Horse.


Outside a Sea Otter practices backstroke
. . . while the seal glides effortlessly by


Through the glass window - who is looking at who ?

Sea Turtles

and that Seal again on the left.


In the big pool, a Beluga (or White) Whale
Large males can reach 5m (16ft) in length, and weigh 1.5 tons.

They are a delight to watch and quite unlike any other of the similar sized whales or dolphins.

Vancouver also had a rain forest section complete with crocodiles.

- - - o o o - - -

Back on the cycle way, we continued round the park.

Due to extreme high winds last November a section of the sea wall cycle path was closed, so we diverted up and around the northern point, but had to climb just that bit higher to cross the approach road to the northern bridge.

The northern Lion's Gate Bridge from the flyover.
Just some of the evidence of the severe gales

On the northern shore is further development and behind it, Grouse Mountain with it's Goldola lift. Somewhere to explore next time.

Outdoor wildlife this time - two Bald Eagles.
. . . and a Heron down near English Bay

English Bay starts where the Park ends. We have almost come full circle.

A rock sculpture on the headland known as an Inukshuk.
Modern high rise with a tree top view point !

The Inukshuk is an ancient symbol of the Inuit Culture, is a navigation aid and an indicator of a safe or welcoming place.

It is a representative symbol for hospitality and friendship, and will be the logo for the forthcomming 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

This particular Inukshuk was commissioned for the Expo 86 Worlds Fair, and moved to the headland here in 1987.

There's no doubt Vancouver was certainly a welcoming and friendly place during our visit.


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon G7 Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built using Dreamweaver.

This site best viewed with . . . a bicycle made for two.

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