Despite the fact that stern-wheel steamers traveled through the Yukon, Tanana and other powerful Alaska rivers in the 50s, overcoming many of their rifts, today we won't go along Tanana. Years of "a wild youth" are left behind and the present-day destiny of stern-wheel steamers has turned into a tourist attraction; quiet 3-hour walks with tourists through the slow moving Chena river. We make a turn and come back to this river. "Discovery III" is going opposite us in Tanana - she will also sail from Chena to Tanana, turn around and go back.
Here, near the mouth of the Chena River, we will have an hour stop during which we'll get acquainted with the culture and customs of the Athabascans - one of the main indigenous peoples of Alaska that still makes up a significant part of the local population. The girl on the shore slowly cuts the freshly caught Salmon and, lifting her eyes from exciting work, cheerfully welcomes travelers:
Well, It's just impossible not to stop next to such a pretty representative of the Athabascans - we moor! "Discovery III" also moored after us, going a little further upstream.
Tourists, meanwhile, are met by another girl who starts a fascinating story about the traditions and culture of the Athabascans.
- "In this basket we collect mushrooms..."
- "And with this stick we hunt moose... or fluff off negligent grooms!"
And now there'll be a fashion show!
Such an original coat with fur hood!
There is no doubt that the Athabascan girls are women of fashion. Moreover, they don't only adorn themselves in front of the mirror, they also ride horses and hunt wolves . . . and of course, they'll be happy to tell you all about it, sitting on a perch with good company!
- "I shot this gray dog on my own!"
- "Well, these ones - they are not even trophies: I might say, while doing my make-up."
- "And this round one is drying right now, and then I'll make a handbag from it - you know, I think, it'll look pretty glamorous!"... Yes, such a domestic girl!
Impressed by the resolve of the local girls, I moved to a kennel for large racing dogs - with those that we saw a little earlier on shore. What cute creatures! And by the way, they are very affectionate and love kids. And how the kids are delighted with them - this is a must see!
We've got another 15 minutes before departure - we can walk along the coast, look at interesting fishing tools, strong blockhouses and outbuildings, and, of course, be photographed with a moose.
As we say goodbye to the charming Athabascan girl with good cheer, she continues her traditional craft after seeing off.
The return journey passes through already familiar places - all the same quiet backwaters of the Chena River and numerous private houses on the banks. Tthe locals warmly welcoming tourists... In less than half an hour both "Discovery" steamers are moored at the quay.