GBG, Giant Cabbage, Babula, Drew, Calypso  LbNA # 32185

Placed DateJun 23 2007
CountyFairbanks North Star
LocationFairbanks, AK
Found By Martini Man
Last Found Jul 21 2013
Hike Distance?

GBG, Tundra Joe (missing), Giant Cabbage, Babula, Drew, Calypso

The Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station was founded on this site in 1906, long before the University of Alaska Fairbanks made its appearance. There have been many animals at the Farm over the years: cows, pigs, yaks, and even Dahl sheep crosses. Now there are reindeer. The part of the farm now called the Georgeson Botanical Garden has always had flower and vegetable demonstration gardens. The hillside above the botanical garden used to have cow pastures but is being developed to expand the botanical garden. The big fields across the road are the longest continuously cropped farmlands in the state of Alaska. Barley, wheat, oats, legumes and hay are grown there most years. The farm produces hay for the reindeer and some for the musk ox at the large animal research farm located off Yankovich Road. Produce from the garden is donated to the local food bank.

1) To find the GBG box, locate the visitor center at the UAF farm. Inside are the restrooms with some really neat pictures of farming the pioneer days of Alaska, and the gift shop. Look under the Southwest corner of this building for the first box of this series. It contains the logbook.

The best place to view our reindeer is along the road, so take a short walk to the west along the main road. Over by the paddocks you will find the Tundra Joe letter box. Tundra Joe was a favorite bull reindeer at the farm for many years. He is the dad or grand dad of the reindeer here now and unlike most bull reindeer was so gentle you could pet him. He became famous when some misguided folks cut the fence to set him free not realizing he had lived his whole life on the farm and would nave no idea how to find food on his own or how to migrate with wild herds. For several weeks people would see Tundra Joe wandering around the area. Eventually he was lured back to his herd of females by Elsa, another favorite reindeer of local children. Go to the wooden fence rails, lean your back against them at the Warning sign. Look amongst the chokecherry tree nearest your right hand for the box.

3) We can grow giant vegetables under the midnight sun. If you are visiting in early summer you will miss seeing them at their best but by mid July the cabbages are getting quite large. To see all the vegetables we can grow, enter the Georgeson Botanical Garden, pay the $2.00 admission fee either in the gift shop or put it in the admission box at the entrance to the garden. Pick up a map of the garden at the entrance information kiosk. Enjoy the flowers and herbs as you make your way to the Ohlsen Family Food Garden. Find the bench dedicated to the horticulture pioneer James Caulkins to the south and sit for minute. Look to your left, the Giant Cabbage box will be near the cache birdhouse, under the lilac tree and hidden under a black pot.

4) Continue to the East end of the garden and enjoy the perennial collections as you go, especially the peonies if you are visiting between June 18-July 10 or so. As you approach the Babula Children’s Garden gateway, look for the Babula box beside the farthest right gateway planter box, under a stone at the base of the little chokecherry tree.

5) A rest would be nice after finding your way through the maze, (still under construction as of June 2007 but will soon be complete with tree seedlings growing larger each year) but first a little stroll. Follow the pathway from the pioneer log cabin all the way back to the west until you reach the pond, Turn uphill to the James V. Drew Amphitheater. Take a seat and admire the view. On a clear day, Mt. Debra and Mt. Hess stand out in the Alaska Range. Denali is to the right but hidden by Chena Ridge. There is a great view of the agricultural fields. In spring there are many kinds of migratory birds in the fields but throughout the summer you will see a flock of sandhill cranes that nest in nearby wetlands and spend the summer at the farm. The Alaska Range box is hidden off to the west under an old fallen down wood fence.

6) Viereck Nature Trail (formerly Calypso Nature trail) is a nice little trail with some informational signs about the plants along the way. Take the dirt path up to the road behind the amphitheater and continue uphill on the road until you come to a side road on your left. Ignore any signs saying no trespassing and go around the rusty yellow gate. Notice a kiosk to your left and a dirt path. This is the beginning of the Calypso nature trail. Calypso box is located under a downed stump uphill behind the kiosk.

Caution: There are often yellow jackets in the botanical garden and surrounding woods. If you are allergic to bee stings, beware of yellow jackets nests that may be near or around letterboxes. Please report the location of any nests to the gift shop attendant.