10 July 2014

Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs

 Fair warning this is an image heavy post.  But the images are really pretty if you fancy a colorfully lit, winter wonderland.  Back to my Alaska posts that I seem to be taking my sweet time with!  The Ice Museum at the Chena Hot Springs was fun, we booked a tour through Alaska Tours after doing some price shopping.  We got to enjoy a tour of the ice museum which is kept nice and chilly year-round using geothermal energy.  How do you like that, it keeps cool with warmth!  While taking the tour you can, for an extra charge, enjoy an appletini out of an ice martini glass.

It was really cold, but not unbearably so.  The tour is very short, the museum is also not that large and I read several reviews calling it a waste of money.  Honestly, if you are at Chena Hot Springs, just spring for the extra bit to tour this really cool, ex-hotel.  I found the artistry and vibe well worth the money.  After the tour we were cut loose to enjoy dinner.  The food was not so great, the service was so-so.  And after being out in the cold I found it cumbersome to peel off 4 layers of clothes just to eat dinner with out having heat stroke.  I won't blame central heating having a faulty controller, fact is there are pipes running through the building that pump hot spring water throughout to warm the restaurant.

Once you finish up your meal, you get to enjoy the hot springs.  They are open air hot springs, in a natural rock bed which was a refreshing treat.  The hot springs I am used to are man-built tubs that have spring water as well as fresh water pumped in via user-controlled knobs.  Like a bathtub, but outside.  This place was awesome; the air around you is crisp and the steam rising above the water provides a decent level of privacy in a rock pool full of people.  The only thing that I would have improved were the changing rooms, they are entirely TOO small for the amount of bathers.  Also the condensation basically makes your dry clothes wet, suggestion: bring a plastic bag to put your dry stuff in the lockers.

After that we were off to wait for the aurora.
 I did not take the above picture. We met this really adventurous traveler while on the way to the hot springs, 日中由.  I hope I get the chance to run into her again on my travels.  Throughout our stay in Alaska we were lucky enough to run into her 3 separate times and we were also able to exchange contact info.  Thanks to her for the pictures, I only packed my cell phone so I do not have anything other than fond memories of the aurora.  Now I have photos to accompany those fond memories, also, thanks Sylvia for forwarding the pics to me. 

Also in other daily life, summer time means foreign exchange student time.  This year has been a marked improvement from last year... not because the exchange student was better... because Andy has actually acquired some boundaries since the last time.  More on exchange student stories coming soon!

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