Saturday, October 19, 2013

Drawing of Tanana River from John Haines' homestead

This is a drawing of the Tanana River and Alaska Range as seen from the top of the ridge above John Haines' homestead. A clearing is there, with a bench where John came to sit and contemplate the world.

According to historical accounts, this stretch of river was one of the most difficult for early riverboats to navigate. Small steamboats could operate on the Tanana above Fairbanks, but the section between the Chena River and Big Delta was the most dangerous. It is one of the river's steepest and  most braided sections--shallow and swift, with ever-changing channels, hidden snags and large rocks.

Riverboaters found the going much easier on the Tanana above Big Delta where the river's descent was much gentler, and the river's channels were generally narrower and deeper.  During the 1913 Chisana gold strike in Eastern Interior Alaska, small steamboats would run up the Tanana to its headwaters near Northway. The Chisana and Nabesna Rivers merge there to form the Tanana, and a few boat were even able to progress further up the Chisana.

For more posts about John Haines see:

Little remains of Richardson

An afternoon at John Haines homestead

John Haines homestead still provides inspiration

John Haines cabin on a sunny February morning

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