Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adventures in Nome

I spent a couple of days in Nome this week. Nome is a mining town on the Bering Sea of about 3500 people and it still retains its frontier flavor. In addition to mining, its the northern finish line for the Iditarod Sled dog race. Weather was low 30s and Sun, rain, sleet, and snow all within a span of an hour or two.

I pity those who are cubicle stop Sitka in a couple of weeks for the 50th anniversary of Alaska Statehood.

Nome was incorporated in 1901 and at one time had Wyatt Earl as a lawman

Sill a lot of false front buildings...on the other side of these buildings is the Bering Sea

Umiak frames (skin boats)

The infamous Board of Trade Saloon

More my speed

Old mining equipment and ruins are everywhere

Early 1900s gold dredge south of town

Not much vandalism here compared to other villages

Tough way to make a living

Kevin and his kids Emily and Scott

Now days, people camp on the beach and float small dredges into the Bering Sea and they are still pulling a lot of gold from the beaches, its cold and unforgiving.

The Bering Sea coast

Fish Camp

Looks like a very cold Burning Man eh?

Ruins of an old mining railroad near Solomon 35 miles south of Nome

Its very beautiful in this area, kind of looks like the Black Hills

Hadnt seen a person for hours

An old roadhouse on the way to Solomon...dont be fooled by the weather in this pic, we had experienced rain, sleet and snow within 20 minute of this picture and it was about 33 degrees (September 21)

Solomon, year round population zero. Its not a painting really.

I wish this building could talk

I remember exploring old mining ruins in the Yukon when I was a kid (and we found some very cool artifacts that I still have)...would have loved to explore the inside of this building but it needs to be preserved for others

The old tracks had sunk into the tundra

White Alice Communications System. This is a relec of the Cold War and was used for communications for the DEW line and Ballistic missile control systems as part of NORAD. It was obsolete within a decade or so when satellites replaced them. The parabolic antennas are huge and dominate the skyline over Nome. In the distance you can see Anvil Mountain (Nome is also called Anvil City).

To quote COL Flagg from M.A.S.H., "it is so secret (but not any more) that even I dont know what I know"

Nome from White Alice site

Road from White Alice

Its a beautiful area and again, it reminds me of my travels through the Dakotas

Rock Creek mine, its a Canadian gold mine that promised an economic boom to Nome but shut down within 2 years...strange that with gold over $1000.00 an ounce that it hasnt re-opened but its owned by Canadians so what do you expect?

One of the groceries in Nome; prices were high but not as bad as the Yukon-Kuskokwim area.

Finally, we flew through Kotzebue on the way back...windy, cold, and a hair raising!

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