Alaskan Caribou  LbNA # 65298

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateJul 3 2013
CountyFairbanks North Star
LocationChena Hot Springs, AK
Found By Sahalie
Last Found Aug 6 2014
Hike Distance1-2 mi
Last EditedMay 13 2016

Last checked/found: 6-AUG-14 Clues updated

Location: ~60 miles Northeast of Fairbanks at Mile 56.5 Chena Hot Springs Road. Park near the Ice Museum.
Time: ~30-60 minutes
Terrain: Level dirt trail w/mosquitoes (and possibly moose)

There are a lot of things to do at this location, so you may want to plan a full day here, or possibly an overnight stay. Options include geothermal tours, Ice Museum, relaxing hot springs, massages, camping, hotel, restaurant, hiking, horseback riding, dogsled rides, wildlife viewing, northern lights, etc.

Caribou have large, concave hoofs that spread widely to support the animal in snow and soft tundra. The feet also function as paddles when caribou swim. Caribou are the only member of the deer family in which both sexes grow antlers. Antlers of adult bulls are large and massive; those of adult cows are much shorter and are usually more slender and irregular. Weights of adult bulls average 350-400 pounds but weights of 700 pounds have been recorded. Mature females average 175-225 pounds.

To find the caribou in this relaxing location, walk south from the museum on the dirt road. Pass some yurts as you curve to the right. Pass sites 27 & 28, and then cross the creek.

Like most herd animals, the caribou must keep moving to find adequate food. Large herds often migrate long distances (up to 400 miles) between summer and winter ranges. Smaller herds may not migrate at all. In summer caribou eat the leaves of willows, sedges, flowering tundra plants, and mushrooms. They switch to lichens (reindeer moss), dried sedges (grasslike plants), and small shrubs (like blueberry) in September.

After about 10-15 minutes you will come to an open clearing with a tall rock face on the left. Just as you enter the clearing, watch for a 9'-10' long boulder near the road on the right. From the far end of the boulder, take ~54 steps along the road. Look to your left to see some stacked rocks about 20 steps from the road.

The Caribou is hiding between the rocks, under some smaller rocks. After stamping in and safely rehiding the box, continue around the loop. You will soon come to a bridge and a beaver pond. Circle around the pond and stay on the main road. Admire the sled dogs as you pass through their area on your return to the parking lot.

We live quite far away and can’t check on the box, so we would appreciate an email to let us know how the Caribou is doing. Thank you!