There’s very little time to write or reflect while we’re in Fairbanks, what with provisioning and visiting and chasing typewriters and all. These past few days have been full in all the ways they needed to be.

Now the energy is shifting. We’re heading to the cabin this morning, where there will be more time for everything and more time for nothing. For now, I want to quickly share a few photos and notes from the place we’ve stayed the past two nights.

Across the River

It’s a tiny Airbnb cabin on the Chena River, out by the airport. What it lacked in indoor space it gave generously out of doors, with a big picnic table out front and a dock where we could sit and hope to see a beaver gliding by. We didn’t see beaver this time, but I did see an otter and some nice ducks.

At times the river is also busy with jet skis and airboats and speedboats — none of which I hoped to see and all of which are noisier than any river wants. The big Sternwheeler Tanana Chief is respectably quiet, however. It chugged past the dock a couple of times each evening carrying friendly people who were willing to wave at us. (The best part of the boat is the big red sternwheel and I’m sorry it’s absent from the photo below.)

Tanana Chief

For me, the most challenging part of this place was not the river or airport noise. It was not the outhouse or the shared shower building across the lawn, both of which I was grateful to have, along with the thoughtful attention of the hosts here.

The most challenging part was that every imaginable type of Alaskan gewgaw was crowded onto every available surface. Antlers, scales weighted with fake gold pieces, far too many embroidered moose, signs that say “We prefer BEAR feet.” Right now I am looking at a single small window framed by sheep horns, a clock shaped like a gold pan, a plastic pistol in a holster, two rusty animal traps, a mirror stamped with a bear paw cutout, and curtains in an Alaskan camping theme. It’s too much.

I am not referring to Stewart as an Alaskan gewgaw. At least not yet . . .

Here are some large fake children fishing . . .

Fake Kids Fishing

And the one-eyed plastic owl on the dock, which I liked even though I didn’t want to.

Wise Eye
Wise Eye

Finally, some real ducks. Whew. A mama and four youngsters here . . .

Chena Ducks

This morning we woke to a steady rain but packing is going smoothly and the weather promises a break for a couple hours at the time the helicopter is scheduled to take us out to the land. Today happens to be our fourth wedding anniversary and we think that would be a nice gift, though we don’t need anything else to be happy right now.

I’ll be back in a couple weeks and Stewart comes home in a month.

See you soon!

Anniversary 4
On the steps of our friends’ gazebo where we were married four years ago today.

10 thoughts on “fairbnb

  1. Anniversary or no returning to your wilderness retreat must be fulfilling, I only wish one day I too could return to my home of 20 years in Alaska’s Northern wilderness…..safe journey


  2. Love the anniversary photo and of course, your splendid writing. Excited to hear all about your adventures once you return. 🤗


  3. Happy Anniversary and happy adventures to you both! I hope you don’t run into any more large fake children fishing. See you soon 💗


  4. Happy Anniversary you two. I love this piece, the description of the geegaws, and most importantly the wonderful picture of you two. Safe flight and a heartwarming welcome home to your spot in the wilderness.


  5. Having just experienced my first Airbnb in El Granada on the Coast of CA, I realize how lucky I was to have no gewgaws at all. Just a nice clean room, a kitchen and indoor bathroom, a little deck and within 10 minutes a beach ripe with fog and local dogs early in the morning. No beaver or otter, but ladies in bikinis swimming in the Pacific! I imagine the two of you flying out to the wilderness and it makes me smile.


  6. So descriptive and entertaining and thoughtful. Happy Anniversary and may your time away be filled with everything and nothing 🙏🏼😍


  7. I loved this post Shae. Happy 4th to you both and so much more of everything and nothing on the rest of your adventure. I especially loved the picture of you two below the post, it says it all. xoxo


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