|What we've been doing - last updated June 12th
We flew from Anchorage to Nome because there are no roads to get there. The first barge hadn't arrived yet after the ice went out so our new Ford Explorer became a 94 pickup with a broken windshield and mirror. We didn't dare to check the emergency brake because it seemed to be stuck. We didn't dare to check for a spare tire because it might not be there. You should see the fleet of brand new shiny Explorers in the parking lot now that the barge has come in and we are leaving. We have had sunshine every day that we have been in Alaska. As a matter of fact, we took a photo out the hotel window at midnight and the sun was still shining. The 1049 mile long Iditerod sled dog race ends here. This race commemorates the heroic efforts of men and dogs to get serum from Anchorage to Nome to fight a diphtheria epidemic in 1925.
We tried to drive the three 75 mile long dead end roads but two roads were only partly open due to late snow melting and washouts. Luckily, the road to the Eskimo village of Teller was open but we were fearful that it might wash out and cut us off from getting back to Nome. It was a fabulous ride through alpine tundra and permafrost terrain of mountains, broad valleys, and ice choked raging rivers. We saw Musk ox, Moose, Caribou, Reindeer, Grizzly Bear and Arctic Fox. At Teller, we didn't find the bird we were looking for but we did walk around the town and met some Eskimos and took photos of drying seal flippers, etc. Canadians call these native people Inuit, not Eskimos.
Nome became a city of over 20,000 during the gold rush days after 1900 but today has less than 4,000 souls, about 50% natives. We failed to find any gold ourselves so we move on.
We're in Anchorage camping at the Walmart parking lot. Tomorrow, we pick up the camper from where we left it to get the wheel bearings repacked. Then we head for Denali National Park and R&R. We will stay in Cantwell RV Park for a week while we seek the elusive Smith's Longspur, an ever dangerous and unpredictable 7" bird. Well, elusive and unpredictable anyway. We are looking forward to hiking on trails in the park and that part of the state has exceptional Grayling fishing so that should be fun.