Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chena Hot Springs Resort #4

Chena Hot Springs Resort #4

Yesterday we toured the geothermal plant and the greenhouse. Since Bernie Carl took over the resort in 1998 from the state of Alaska which was losing money running it, he has taken advantage of the hot springs to heat and cool the resort. With water coming out of the ground at 165 degrees, running pipes under the buildings has helped heat them. They’re doing research here on geothermal energy which is being noticed.

We met more of the staff—from Utah, Montana, Ohio, and Korea. They’re all very accommodating and take time to visit with the guests. Even those who have only been here from one day to two weeks can share information about the resort or the activities and make the guests feel at home. An elderhostel group has been here a few days and left this morning. On our first day here the first people we met were from Bettendorf, Iowa, with the elderhostel!

Last night in Anchorage a new record low was set for this time of year—39 below zero. When we took a walk this morning about half a mile down along the airstrip to see the horses, my glasses fogged up and froze all frosty from the moisture in my breath!

Several people recommended that we go to the outdoor Rock Lake hot springs at night because there is a full moon and it’s really pretty. It’s on our agenda to go outside in this below zero weather to experience the hot springs.

This afternoon we are signed up for the Ice Museum tour. In 2003 it was built as an Ice Hotel, but it melted in June of 2004. Since then they have improved the cooling system so that it exists year round, but now as an ice museum with works by champion ice carvers Steve and Heather Brice. The building was constructed in the fall of 2004 and remains today, thanks to a 2-stage ammonia absorption refrigeration system powered by geothermal energy.

Tomorrow we check out of our room at 11 a.m., but the shuttle to the Fairbanks airport isn’t until 2 p.m. This time we’ll get to see the road because it will be about dusk and be dark by the time we fly to Barrow at 6 p.m. Meanwhile we’ll be able to go to the hot tubs one more time after checking our luggage at the office.

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