Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 4416 DELTA JUNCTION GUIDE a few hundred feet higher... An excellent way to gain an ap- preciation of the size and grandeur of the Delta Junction area is to view it from a small aircraft. From a few hundred feet in the air the surrounding mountains become very prominent the tamed pastoral fields of the Clearwater area and the berm-rowed and much larger fields of the Delta Ag Proj- ect country stand out in stark contrast to the wilderness next door. North of here above-ground portions of the trans-Alaska Pipeline can be seen east of the Richardson Highway. The line crosses the highway sev- eral times south of Delta Junction. A few hundred feet higher and the con- fluence of the Tanana and Delta rivers is an impressive sight. Extending north from the massif that is known as Donnelly Dome a series of pothole lakes announce the side moraine of the glacier that formed the Del- ta Valley glancing to the east however re- veals no such formation associated with the Tanana. Even when hundreds of feet of ice were ranging through Iowa and Missouri during the Pleistocene Era this valley in far north interior Alaska enjoyed dry ground. It apparently takes more than 12 inches of precipitation a year for the formation of glaciers and the Tanana Valley while de- ceptively green in the summertime has stayed below that limit for eons. Glacier fans can observe several active ice rivers just a few miles south in the Alaska Range. A quick flight down the pass to Paxson will take one past Black Rapids Glacier notori- ous as the Galloping Glacier for its violent advance toward the Richardson Highway in the late 30s. As the canyon opens up at Summit Lake to the left is the beautiful and many-faced Castner Glacier. Summit Lake just below Isabel Pass is noted for fishing airstrips are near the lake and at Paxson. Flying west from Delta toward Fairbanks one crosses the Tanana Flats a largely untouched river bottom- land area traversed by both clear water and braided silty glacial streams. To the right the rolling Tanana Hills are really sand dunes in disguise. They have been stable long enough to support climax vegetation in the form of old-growth spruce but a sharp eye will catch the characteristic shape of Aeolian wind shaped formation. With a minimum of searching wild- life fans can spot everything from bison and moose to porcupines depending on how brave you or your pilot are. The flats to the east of the Clearwater farming area are prime moose-spotting grounds and the west bank of the Delta River is the summer range of the Delta herd of American bison. For those who have limited time or who arent comfortable with a remote wilderness experience a flightseeing trip is a low im- pact opportunity to experience the beauty and wildness of Alaska. Content courtesy of www.alaska-highway. org airtours GARY HALL