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Chena River's Ice Road

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Visitors from "Outside", that is from anywhere not Alaska are surprised by some of our winter features.  This is a picture of Pike's from the ice road in front of Pike's Landing.  In the winter, the Chena River freezes and Fairbanksians use then use the frozen surface as a road. One of the main entrances is the boat put in between Pike's Landing and Pike's Waterfront Lodge.  The ice road lasts as long as the ice does; sometimes the last car to use it in the spring sinks a bit and indicates that the road really is gone until the next winter.


Christmas and New Years Decorations

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Pike's Waterfront Lodge. Ursula did an excellent job of decorating the lobby and other public rooms. This photo only shows the decorations in the piano room, but the rest of the holiday decorations are spread throughout Pike's. More photos of the holiday decorations can be seen on our Facebook page.

Tired Iron

Friday, November 18, 2011


A less grueling, but no less enjoyable snowmachine event than the Iron Dog plays out on the Chena River in front of Pike’s. The Tired Iron, a series of events that features old snow-machines and often even older riders, is always good fun. While the Iron Dog features the newest machines, the series of events that take place over two days puts the focus on old models. To qualify, the snowmachine must be made before 1979 and it must have leaf-suspension. Races are separated by varying machine type, such as air- or liquid-cooled engines and vary in length from sprints to longer races. The Tired Iron is put on the same weekend that the Iron Dog race finishes and the two events combine to make for a great winter weekend of fun. The photo above is of a kid already to go on the slingshot ride and the other photo shows one of the old 'machines in action. The older sleds exhibit a much larger degree of variety than newer models do as more companies were producing them back then.

Pike's Hallway Signs

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Pike’s Waterfront Lodge houses not just guests, but many curiosities as well. Ranging from paintings, to animal mounts, to antiques, there is something interesting to see in just about every corner of the building. One of the most ubiquitous decorations are the colorful event signs lining the hallways and scattered around the hotel. These signs are based on the boldly colored fruit can labels from the early 20th century. Just as those labels proudly displayed the product in the can, so too do these signs advertise the different things to see in and around the Pike’s property. The signs were originally designed and produced to provide a picture narrative of the hotel and grounds during the summer. Because guests in the winter can’t experience the lawns and gardens, the signs serve to show them what the property is like during a different season. They also advertise different things to do and see in the area, such as visiting the Lucky Ducks or the Pike’s Greenhouse.

The Pike's Lodge Lucky Ducks

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The inquisitive guest may notice that there is a duck theme at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge. The Lucky Duck pond and pen were originally built because it was a feature that would interest children and families. The Luck Duck name comes from the Lucky Duck fortune teller in the lobby and by the trio of pluck Lucky Ducks available in the giftshop- Sitting Duck, Should’ve Ducked, and Lucky Duck. The original inspiration comes from the famous Peabody Hotel’s marching ducks. The Pike’s ducks did not always have a pen- they used to wander around the property by day and sleep under an air-conditioning unit. The only problem was that when the unit turned on at night, it would frighten the sleeping ducks. Guests complained that their startled quacking sounded like a bunch of drunks and so the Lucky Duck pen came to be.

Maintenance Manager

Thursday, October 20, 2011


As Maintenance Manager, Jeff manages and is part of the three person team that does all the general maintenance in Pike’s Waterfront Lodge and around the property. Most of the work, such as maintaining washers and dryers or repairing drywall,can be handled by Jeff and his team. It is for the complicated stuff, or repairs that call for a license (such as boiler work), that Jeff needs to contact an external company. In general, housekeeping will contact Jeff about jobs that need to be done and he will distribute work so that everything is repaired as quickly as possible. He started work at Pike’s to help out the former maintenance manager, but ended up getting the job full time. He likes the position because at the end of the day, he has the satisfaction of a job well done.  Thanks for your hard work, Jeff!

Green Initiatives

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Michelle, the Head Housekeeper at Pikes, is in a unique position to identify and then implement change. She has spearheaded many new green initiatives, including some really neat ones that I thought I would share. She tries to get local chemicals to save on the shipping costs and environmental affect of that same shipping. Speaking of chemicals, Michelle has made major progress in moving from the industrial chemicals traditionally used in hotels to common household chemicals such as Downy and Tide. The bath tissues are GreenSeal certified, there is no bleach in the Windex, and some of the cleaning chemicals can even be safely consumed! My favorite of the initiatives has to be the door-powered deodorizers. They are designed so that the scent is wafted from the deodorizer through just the action of opening and closing the door. Many of these changes save money, energy, and make the hotel a cleaner, greener place.

Pike's Waterfront Lodge General Manager

Friday, October 14, 2011


As General Manager, much of Patty’s time is spent helping people find answers. If someone calls with a question about catering, dining, or rooms, she will help direct them to the person to talk to. Her daily routine tends to revolve around organization and making sure that everyone has what they need to get their jobs done. She expedites, orders supplies, and talks to department heads. In the morning she might also help at breakfast or with housekeeping. In the afternoon, she might help in the greenhouse or direct the ground crew on weeding and mowing around the property. Patty moved up to Fairbanks from California and likes that the town has a certain mellowness to it. That, and it is very easy to get into the beautiful wilderness. In her free time, Patty likes water coloring and has been able to travel to water color workshops both in and out of state. Patty is pictured here with one of her watercolors and the Chena River in the background.

Only in Alaska - a tale from a Pike's employee's husband

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


In 2010 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued 100 permits to hunt bull moose in the Upper Ship Creek drainage behind Anchorage. Permits are available for pick up in person at the ADF&G office in Anchorage in October starting at 8:00 AM on a selected day. In 2010 people were lining up by 8:00 PM the night before. I arrived at 4:00 AM on the same day and was number 70 or 71 in line. More than 100 hunters showed up that year. I met a guy who showed up at 6:00  AM found out at 9:00 AM that he was 113 in line, so no permit. The 2010 night was cold and damp; I spent it trying to doze in a sleeping bag on the pavement under the parking lot lights.

In 2011 the permits were issued on Wednesday October 5. By Tuesday night, there were over a dozen hunters in line with sleeping bags, folding chairs and heavy jackets-including last year’s number 113, a friendly guy who lives a half mile from the South Fork Eagle River trailhead, a popular entry point for the hunt.
David, my son, and I wanted permits. We were not willing to play the odds. Plan A, up at 4:00 AM and off to ADF&G with warm clothes and camp stools, was replaced by spending the night in a tent in line. We arrived at 10:30 PM and joined the line as numbers 17 and 18. We had a ground cloth, free standing tent, thermarest sleeping pad (comfortable), ensolite sleeping pad (not so c.), sleeping bags, headlamps, Allie’s homemade cookies, a thermos of coffee, a thermos of tea, and paperbacks. With the only tent, we set the highest standard. At 2:30 AM David went home for a canteen of water. During the night occasional hunters arrived and settled in. At 6:00 AM we got up and found that they would start issuing permits at 8:00 AM. We went back to sleep till 7:00 AM when it got too noisy to sleep. More people had joined the line. The unofficial count was 86 at 7:00 AM. At 8:15 am, we had permits in hand and left.

Iron Dog on the Chena River

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The boat launch right beside Pike’s Waterfront Lodge is a public access launch onto the Chena River, a river that plays host to many sporting events throughout the year! In the winter, it serves as the finishing point for the Tesoro Iron Dog, a taxing snowmobile race that winds follows part of the Iditarod Trail. The Iron Dog has changed its route many times since the first race in 1984 and the race currently runs from Big Lake up to Nome then to the finish in Fairbanks along the Chena River. Each rider races as a team of two on two snowmobiles for safety reasons, and they have to take three 6-hour breaks between the towns of Nome and Tanana in addition to a 42-hour break in Nome before they turn around and head towards Fairbanks. This course has the riders traverse over 2,000 miles of Alaskan wilderness, making it the world’s longest snowmobile race. Not only do the teams of riders have a long trail, but they have to face freezing temperatures and unforgiving terrain, which makes this race the toughest snowmobile race in the world.