More places will be described, with time, despite their efforts to hide.
The great nation of Alaska is the small island located in the box, next to the box showing Hawaii, in the Pacific Ocean, to the left of the map of the United States, printed by United States people. Some maps show Alaska as a Canadian province at the upper left corner of Canada, but those maps also stretch the northern latitude distances to the extent of abject falsification just to fit rectangular map pages. If you are following map makers, you are already lost. Alaska is where you find it, and you will know when you do.
The various and sundry regions of the great nation of Alaska are often described as follows:
Interior: The middle part of Alaska, away from coastal influence, by whatever distance you want to imagine. Colder in the winter, warming in the summer, and nicer because it aint so wet. Fairbanks is its most common reference point.
Southcentral: The coastal area at the bottom center part of the state. Wet. Cold because of the wet. Anchorage is its most common reference point, although Valdez is mentioned on occasion after Saint Joseph Hazelwood put it on the map.
Kodiak: You might consider Kodiak island as part of Southcentral, but it is sufficiently unique that it is often referenced separately. The town of Kodiak can be found on Kodiak Island, if you can imagine such a thing.
Aleutian Islands: A unique string of islands known to be too expensive to reach. If you aren't being paid to go there, for commercial fishing or some such fool thing, you won't go there. If you have enough money to go there for fun, you still won't go there. Nothing fun has been found there yet. And the weather sucks. The town of Cold Bay is somewhere out in that direction. It was named for a good reason. And if that aint far enough, Unalaska is out there, and indicates its location. There are a lot of volcanoes out there. Nobody pays attention when they commonly erupt.
Southeast: To Alaskans, Southeast is Southeast, the southeast panhandle of Alaska. Rain, fishing, rain, coastal scenery, rain, wildlife, rain, boating, rain, islands, rain, and if the rip-tides don't get you in the inside waters, the storm swells will get you on the outside waters. Juneau is its social focal point.
Western Alaska: The western coast of Alaska. Mostly flat. Mostly cloudy. Nome is out there somewhere.
North Slope: Oil. The north slope of the Brooks Mountain Range, extending to the Arctic Ocean. Desolate, flat frozen wasteland, as interesting as all other places in the world. Swamps and mosquitoes in the summer month. Ice and snow in the long winter. Wind. Prudhoe Bay is the common reference point if you are thinking about oil, and Barrow if you are thinking about oil tax money. Another focal point for human political bickering, shouting and arm-waving. Commonly listed on the long list of last pristine delicate fragile spiritual wilderness areas, among the humans making money off those words. The abundant caribou and waterfowl do well in the oil fields, and ignore the humans, except the locals who keep killing them to eat them.
Places in the interior, and north, and west too...
Fairbanks: (Avoid the town of Fairbanks)
Do whatever you must to stay out of the town of Fairbanks. Zip into the airport, skitter around the fringe of the town limits, but stay out of the town itself, for reason.
On the road north, Fairbanks Alaska is the last town where the conveniences of modern America are available, but abruptly end in the face of every other concept coming from the other direction. An inordinate percentage of those who stay, are at either end of the social bell curve. The norm does not do well in Fairbanks. The available data base in Fairbanks is off the end of the scale elsewhere. And the metabolic rate is high.
Cold and dark in the winter, all day long, but dry and little wind, so it is comfortable. Bring a coat. Warm and sunny in the summer, all day long, with an occasional light shower to keep things green. Bring sun glasses, and a 44 Magnum for the mosquitoes lurking in the trees. Spruce, birch and aspen forest. The rolling hills of the residential area on three sides of town drop to the flat land of the town, where the Chena River joins the Tanana River. The Tanana flats extend south to the majestic glacier-clad Alaska Range in full view 80 miles away. Mt. Hayes, Deborah and Hess create a distinctive horizon among the other peaks.
Do not expect anything but hassles and threats in the town of Fairbanks itself. Not that long ago it was the kind of superlative town that picked up your pulse even when you got close. It was fun and exciting with the priceless, rich character of a far north gold-rush town. The people in town were alive, dynamic, laughing and friendly, offering much.
Then the oil money hit Alaska, which means that the government was suddenly awash in oil tax money, gobbled-up for its insatiable greed, while the common people struggled. So the mentally stagnant Fairbanks city government sorts, with their State government colleagues passing out free money to other government insiders, decided to force Fairbanks to conform to the narrow government illusion, quite identical to the old Soviet mentality. Government ridded the town of all those individuals and businesses whose independent, diverse minds were outside the narrow little stagnated government box. Most of the businesses and people who were authorized to stay were approved because they were the insatiably greedy government sorts, angry at you because you do not pay them enough tax money, and bickering over dollars in the government pig wallow of dollars. The government bought the classic old bars, saloons, hotels and anything else of its mindless whim, then rolled in the bulldozers and sterilized the town with parking lots and empty shells of buildings. The town's rich and colorful history was erased. The common people were pushed out, so of course other businesses collapsed for lack of customers, leaving more vacant buildings boarded up. Rather than admit to their obvious disaster inherent to the mindless government solution for anything, and give the property back to the people so private enterprise could start over to provide what people want, the government dolts spent more oil tax money to fill vacant buildings with government agencies, and built more government buildings, Soviet style, leaving the only people in town as government people, without a pulse or brain, and looking to arrest anyone without a government permit to be there.
Taxation by fraudulent citation remains popular with the insatiably rich, desperately greedy Fairbanks government. Do not sneeze in town, smile or make eye contact with one of the government thugs. You might get a $150 citation, and either pay, or face a typical Fairbanks court judge who will summarily find you guilty of an invented case law, and raise the fine that pays his repugnantly huge salary. Consider one of the city ticketing scams. When you pay your first annual car license plate tax, you get a year sticker and month sticker. But after that the State only gives you a year sticker, since the month does not change. The stickers are exposed to long hours of sunlight in the summer, and much sub zero cold in the winter. The cheap sticker ink fades. So the Fairbanks government figured out that it could give $30 tickets for faded month stickers, issued for arbitrary fadedness. Lawfully, the State therefore defrauded you by failing to provide a legally adequate sticker receipt for the tax you paid. But law in the Alaska Soviet government is designed to cheat the people and protect the government swine. It is worth paying the fraudulent fine rather than wasting valuable time trying to reason with the power-damaged minds of government swine in Alaska, especially in Fairbanks. The list of such scams is too long for this website. Just wisely stay out of Fairbanks. Has there ever been any free oil tax money that did not further corrupt any insatiably greedy government?
If you want to visit what Alaska towns were before government got its grubby hands on huge amounts of oil tax money, you gotta go to Montana, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and such places, where the incentive and private enterprise of common people inherently provides what people want in towns, the character of real people doing real things you and they enjoy. Where they were not bulldozed, the classic old saloons, cafes and hotels of other towns, just as they were back in earlier days, attracted a new clientele as society evolved, and were improved so you, I and everyone who enjoy fun places could enjoy them. Fairbanks and other Alaska towns lost 100 years of inordinately rich history, and can never recover it. The government has sterilized several Alaska towns, to copy the Soviet style. If you work for the IRS, you will love Fairbanks, and deserve what happens to you.
Check back in a couple hundred years, if we ever get out from under the government yoke of concrete buildings filled with armed police who think that a glazed donut is the most exciting thing the people should be allowed to have. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, were last seen entering government buildings crawling with armed police.
But that is only in the towns. The Alaskans are still here, having entirely too much fun, just pushed out of town into an underground society with the same outrageously dynamic character of Alaska. It cannot be conveniently found by visitors or government drones, but you might catch a glimpse of it if you do not waste time among the government-approved cardboard cut-outs in town. Mention the stinking government as the stinking government, and the real Alaskans will know you are a fellow human.
At Delta Junction, the Alaska Highway from Canada, meets the Richardson Highway joining Valdez, Los Anchorage and Fairbanks. The Delta River meets the Tanana River. Wind. Cold. Magnificent view of Mt. Hayes, Moffit and McGinnis in the Alaska Range. A wild bison herd roams the area. A Soviet-styled, failed government grain farming project cleared vast acreages of forest, unseen behind the trees they left along the road. A small military base is being perpetually closed in the area, currently being laced with a maze of nuclear missile silos. It is a last stopping point for a diverse array of fun outdoor activity in a diverse environment, from the lakes, rivers, forests and tundra, to Alaska Range summits, free from the armed Park Service thugs. The climbers enroute the Alaska Range stop at Delta junction. Great chocolate candy and coffee shop there. A lot of interesting Russian immigrants moved there, diversifying the community.
Besides the junked nuclear reactor sunk into the mud at Fort Greely adjacent to Delta Junction, just south a ways is another old military site where the Washington DC boys cold-tested everything the military children ever dreamed up, and then left it there, laying around out in the woods. Washington DC trashes every place it touches, because it's mental midget thugs cannot be arrested for their crimes. The Gerstle River testing site is so toxic that government agencies tell their people to not even get close, but they do not tell the general public. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, were last seen south of Delta Junction.
The unique and historic Black Rapids Roadhouse, on the Richardson Highway, south of Delta Junction, is currently closed, but it is a phoenix. Black Rapids Roadhouse
Back in the early days, 03 I think, if that wasn't 73, I was saddled up to the bar sharing lies with Mary of the famous Bert and Mary, the owners when the Roadhouse was in full roadhouse mode, if you didn't need gas. Mary was telling me about the gold in the local creeks and I was telling her about the summits of the local mountains, each viewing the stories of the other a little slaunchwise. Some drifter walked in with a story about being really low on gas and wondering where the next gas station was. Mary laughed. Well, I believed his story, on account of the wind outside screaming by at its usual clip for that slot between a rock and a glacier. He said he was burning a lot of gas just to keep his car from being blown backwards. On account of there being no gas pump at the Roadhouse those days, and nice guy that I have been accused of being by people I failed to impress, I gave the chap five gallons from my spare can, to get him to Paxon if he made it. When I came back in, Mary told me that she heard the story all the time, from people who did not gas up at Delta Junction. The guy could have put his car in neutral and been blown the thirty or so miles back to Delta to get gas.
But until the lodge takes flight again, as it may soon do, drive right past it, past the nearby Black Rapids Army Prison Torture Training Site, past Alyeska Oil Pipeline Pump Station 10, past Trim's Highway Maintenance Camp. Park your car by one of the three glacier river bridges, get out the driver's side door, if you are coming from Fairbanks of course, if you want to climb in the Delta Range of the Alaska Range, or out the passenger side door if you want to climb in the Hayes Range of the Alaska Range. The mountains are right there at hand. Ah, do not do the Hayes side in the summer if you do not have a kayak, canoe or raft to get across the Delta River, but in the winter, you can ski across.
The eastern Alaska Range is outside the National Park Service Gulag. You can do whatever humans can do, and face only the consequences of your actions, instead of facing Park Ranger guns and their unstable minds so irrational that, while they are no more capable of making their own decisions, they genuinely believe that they can successfully make decisions for everyone else in the world, sort of like the more naive teenagers, only armed and desperate for enforcement budget excuses. Your activities being outside a Park Service Gulag, and thus your mind being free from threats by armed government thugs, facing only Nature, you will learn vastly more knowledge from each of your actions. Ya'll be careful now. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, were last seen in the eastern Alaska Range.
This is Summit Lake, south of Black Rapids, not Summit, which is on the other pass through the Alaska Range. This is one odd place. Summit lake is at the Alaska Range pass on the Richardson Highway, just south of the mountains, on account of the glaciers flowing to the south on that part of the Alaska Range feed a river that then cuts back through the Range, going north. In fact, Eureka Glacier has creeks coming off both sides of the same snout, one going west then south, and the other going east then north, that end up in two different oceans. Summit Lake had a classic old log lodge, that burned down, like most of the old log lodges. The lake is sizable, in a brush and tundra area, above the tree line. A few years ago a little patch of private land across from the lodge, up above the lake on the other side of the highway, got popular. So you drive by a tight little cluster of cabins in the brush. Odd looking. Rarely anyone there. Don't look too long because the curve at that spot has sucked a few cars into the lake.
Paxon is the Paxon Lodge, south of Summit Lake, where the Denali highway starts at the Richardson Highway. It is a very popular place along about hunting season, on account of those roads running through prime caribou and moose habitat. A highway maintenance camp is there.
So when a couple of us were driving down to Glennallen to fly in to climb Mt. Drum, and our little car just couldn't push the snow anymore, in the heavy snow storm, we had to back up in our tracks for a long way to Paxon. When we walked into the maintenance camp office, and saw the crew sitting there smoking cigars and telling old snow plowing stories, we engaged in what may have been an impressive dissertation on the responsibilities of plowing the highway so cars could drive on it. People started moving rather efficiently. We were shortly right behind a snow plow cleaning that highway down to bare pavement at 60 mph, and we were impressed, that is, until the plow got to the end of its jurisdiction, and turned around, before the boys from the other end got that far north, or even finished smoking cigars and telling the same stories in their office. That Paxon snow plow driver is no doubt still telling the same story, with a few different words, and laughing robustly.
When we barely chugged into the airfield, the engine died. We opened the hood and could only see snow. The airplane was on skis, and we were outta there forthwith. That was the time we established Mt. Drum as the People's Monument to the Freedom of the Mountains, as I may elsewhere expound upon, much to the seething rage of our dear and benevolent friends in the National Park Service, if you can imagine that.
South of Paxon. Another classic old log roadhouse from the early days, on the Valdez-Fairbanks trail, now a highway. It was slowly sinking into the ground but still heavily used, then it burned down a few years ago. So it moved into the garage of course, where the current owners are working very hard going broke on schedule, like all the old roadhouse owners. And if they do not have their home-made chocolate chip cookies next time I stop by, I'm gonna complain again.
Few towns have such a close view of two superlative, gem-white glacier-clad volcanoes, Mt. Sanford and Mt. Drum, with another one just behind them. The crater of other one, Mt Wrangell, is routinely steaming. Glennallen is socially distinctive and spread out among the trees. Glennallen is also the place to fly in to the Wrangell Range mountains in the Wrangell St. Elias National Gulag. Tell your pilot to not tell the Park Service.
Chitina is not pronounced, Chitina. It is pronounced, Chitna. Chitina is known for Chitina dip netting. Chitina is at the north end of the short section of the Copper River where dip netting for salmon is a tradition among Alaskans. Chitina is a little cute little old little town. Paved road all the way to city center. Worth the visit. Really cute set of little lakes before, in and after the town, along the road. Great climbing routes on the adjacent cliff, but then there are great climbing routes all over Alaska.
From Chitina you can turn to drive through the slot in the rock, to McCarthy, or drive on down along the scenic Copper River, in view of the road. You will enjoy the road along the Copper River. At the point you realize you suddenly no longer enjoy the road, keep your hands white-knuckle gripped on the steering wheel, and do not even think about turning around, regardless of the temptation, until it becomes very obvious that you can do so. Do not worry. If the road slides away, down to bare cliff behind you, they will usually get you out within a few days. But then, some of the people who disappear in Alaska, were last seen on the road south of Chitina.
Across a few hills from Chitina, to the northeast a bit, south from the Glenn Highway Tok Cutoff, at the end of the road, is Nebesna. It was a neat old mining town that the National Park Service surrounded and sterilized. Besides other interesting features, it is an occasional starting point for the Alaska Mountain and Wilderness Classic Race, a unique extreme footrace that created the highest standards for all the other extreme wilderness races you hear about. Of course there are stories of Nebesna being saturated with armed undercover Park Service thugs when the race has been openly run without the volumes of paperwork permits demanded by the feckless Washington DC drones. The unmitigated audacity of Alaskans running across the King's Crown lands, without permission from the King's sheriff.
But back along the Nebesna road a bit is the Jack Lake Lodge, the site of the Great Wrangell St.-Elias Trespass in 1981. Refer to the below description of Cantwell to get an indication of said Trespass, another grand Alaska outdoor party in the snow, this time on the then frozen Jack Lake, near the lodge. A fun feature of that event was the bulldozer, blade down, which joined the party in the King's Crown Park lands. Even the words weaken the knees of unthinking environmentalists who will never comprehend why they are able to drive anywhere, and how so very much more damage is done by the unaccountable, tax paid National Park Service bulldozers serving the privileged government elite above the people.
The last town on the road south to the border. Do not, I say again, do not get stuck in Tok if you are hitch-hiking back to the lower 48, or you will be stuck in Tok. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, were last seen in Tok. Would you pick up a hitch-hiker going all the way to the lower 48, a few miles before the Canadian border guards looking for suspicious characters? If you are a hitch-hiker going south, and get dropped off in Tok, just hitch back north and start over.
End of the road toward the Yukon River from Tetlin Junction on the Alaska Highway. One of the main Yukon River towns not far downstream from Canada. A good end of the road trip. Then the National Park Service came to town to make it a headquarters for a nearby National Park Gulag. That created some amusing stories. People in Eagle were serious Alaskans. But with time and enough paper money rolling off the federal printing presses, the feds will reduce everything down to their nadir of the human phenomenon, as is happening in Eagle. Buy the post card at Tetlin Junction.
On the aforementioned road to Eagle. Gold. Great little town. There are a lot of Chicken stories.
Nice little town at the west end of the Denali Highway, at the other end from Paxon, back off the Parks Highway a bit. Worth stopping in. Railroad siding in the early days. Near the site of The Great Denali Trespass in 1980.
When the dirtbag National Park Service thugs were unleashed on Alaska in 1980, the Alaskans staged a few parties on the King's Crown Park lands, to do all those things Alaskans and other humans have always done, that outrage the midget minds of the Washington DC dolts. Many people peacefully assembled without Park Service permission and thus in violation of federal law, shot a great variety of guns, camped without permits, made camp fires, gave speeches illuminating truths about the Park Service swine, skydived, drank whiskey, uttered unsavory words, and had a lot of fun out in the snow. The crowd was saturated with undercover federal government thugs who stupidly thought they were not recognized, much to the amusement of the Alaskans. You can't hide brainless federal thugs among common humans who have brains in their cranium.
When the skydiver's airplane was about to take off, a colleague asked me if I wanted to make the lift. I declined because the plane looked a bit full. Then it took off uphill because the lower end of the airstrip was crowded with people. Then the plane's wings mowed off the tops of several black spruce, much to the stark fear of the skydivers watching the broken branches stream past the open door. But it flew. The clouds were low and the valley was narrow above the party. On jump run, the plane had to make a sudden evasive maneuver to avoid a collision. The categorically stupid command structure of the United States Air Force under the thumb of the National Park Service Director, had a C-130 circling above the clouds, loaded with communication equipment having direct contact with Washington DC, assigned to spy on these Alaskans who dared to exercise their freedoms out in the forest, without the permission of Park Pigs. The feds consider all Alaskans to be criminals, and have more armed feds per capita assigned to monitor Alaskans, than they have anywhere else in the US or the world, which explains much of Washington DC incompetence. These days the federal dolts call Alaskans terrorists. The US Air Force drones saw a small opening in the low clouds and dove their four-engine C-130 down through it to get photos of the party, barely missing the skydiver airplane and barely leveling out in time to avoid ground impact, before flying down the valley below the clouds. It was a very impressive sight for us folks looking up at the sudden loud noise. One of the usual problems the Washington DC swine had was that, despite their best security and intelligence efforts (hold your laughter), an Alaskan was in the C-130. He told us the extent of Washington DC's hatred and US military spying operations against Alaskans and other US citizens. Power-damaged minds were designed for the entertainment of commonly intelligent humans.
That night I skied from the camping area to the party at the Cantwell bar, skiing through the bar, across the dance floor, to much cheering, before taking off my skis and dancing in my double boots as the party of the decade filled the night. The noticeably stiff feds stood around seething in anger at these humans who have fun, as power-damaged minds will do for eternity.
Denali National Park:
To many visitors, Alaska is Denali National Park, and that is good. Without what is called in Alaska, The Park, all those people would be crowding Alaska. Get in line, do as you are told by the Park Service Gestapo, get your permits, pay each time you turn around, believe the lies you are told, do not ask questions, and just pay the fine when you are cited. The Gulag was created for your enjoyment of being taxed, by the government. If you stay inside the box, it will look real.
Denali is the highest mountain in North America. All the polls show that the vast majority of the people prefer the original name of Denali, but the always-arrogant Washington DC door-knobs refuse to change the name from Mt. McKinley. A white guy political hack named the mountain Mt. McKinley to help the political candidate McKinley get elected as president, and the Washington DC drones obviously do not care whose cultures they trammel to perpetuate the sanctity of Washington DC egos and political corruption.
Yes, the Alaskan mountaineering guides were outlawed when the Park Service illegally imposed its mountaineering guide concession permits for Denali National Park, so the highly lucrative permits could be given as pay-offs to a certain few of the Park Service's lower-48, Sierra Club political supporters after the Alaska Lands Act was adopted by Washington DC in 1980. The National Park Service cannot allow Alaskans in Alaska mountains owned by Washington DC, which, to those who know about the mental midget Washington DC drones, tells you much about Alaskans. If you are in the Gulag, do not ask the Park Service thugs, why, if the few profit-raking permit holders can hire whomever they want for the many actual guides on the mountains, can't the actual guides have their own permits so they can work for themselves? You can be arrested and jailed for a week, without an allowed trial, for asking questions like that, as have Alaskan climbers. Yes, you can be arrested and jailed for politely asking National Park Gestapo questions. You learn knowledge by asking questions. Government employees fear asking or answering questions, and thus remain stupid. Pity the mentally void Park Service dolts dependent upon their guns and pocket judges.
Denali National Park is particularly dangerous. Among similar examples, the taxpayers were punished over a million dollars in a lawsuit when the Denali National Park thugs were caught intentionally blocking the otherwise in-progress citizen rescue of some tourist airplane accident victims in the park, until two of the tourists died and two suffered permanently crippling injuries due to the several-day delay. The full court record would shock you as much as it expressly shocked the judge. The Park Service periodically uses that tactic. When agency budget excuses are based on lies, such as preventing deadly accidents, the agency needs to routinely facilitate deadly accidents so its thugs can lie about the need for more money to prevent the accidents. Dead bodies of tourists in National Parks create highly lucrative budget excuses under the US federal funding system. The Chief Ranger who was found in court to be directly, personally responsible for willfully blocking the rescue, was not convicted of murder or manslaughter. He was promoted to a Park Superintendent. There are no federal police to arrest the federal police who murderously violate the law. At the Waco Dividian Church example, the US Army, FBI and BATF were given more funding after slaughtering innocent women and children in their church, and the agents were promoted and rewarded.
Enjoy Denali National Park and its legion of armed rangers so more thinking people can enjoy Alaska.
Yes, no small number of people who disappeared in Alaska, were last seen in one of the National Park Gulags crawling with armed government thugs.
When you are in Alaska and you enter a drawing for two free tickets to Honolulu, read the fine print. It is a railroad maintenance shack north of Hurricane and south of Colorado, two other railroad maintenance shacks along the Alaska Railroad just south of the Alaska Range, and you do not want your ticket to end there.
Just over the hill to the north of Fairbanks, Fox is the old gold mining center of Goldstream Valley, and still is, come to think of it. A lot of colorful history is still happening. The Howling Dog Saloon is everything you would expect from a classic old Alaska saloon favored by the locals, including the owner closing it each winter to spend that time anywhere farther south. The Silver Gulch brewery in the Fox Roadhouse is the farthest north beer brewery, and a good one. And then there is the story about the Turtle Club, something about someone who wanted to build a new bar and restaurant in Fox, so he mailed a letter to the Liquor Czar to get the paperwork. Instead of the paperwork, since the request was from Fox, he got the liquor license in the mail, and a notice that the facilities would be inspected in a week. Fastest bar ever built in Alaska. A nearby vein of white marble was almost a decorative stone source, until the dynamite guy got a little too enthusiastic, and made a vein of white gravel. John Holmgren's machine shop is in Fox. Maybe the reason Fox ends up with the oddest array of machining equipment is because it is the junction of the long roads from the Manley gold area, the Prudhoe oil patch, the Circle gold area, and all their broken equipment.
The insatiably greedy federal and State governments of RepublicratDemocans own nearly all of Alaska, and continue buying and cheating the people out of the remaining less than one percent of non-Native private property in Alaska, for the good of the State, comrade. Part of the program to fool the people is the State program to occasionally sell, at inflated prices, a few dregs of land at illogical places that will later be easily seized by government scams. And some people actually buy those illogical dregs of land. It is part of the Alaska adventure for some. The Haystack hill area is/was/may be a place where some people live, sometimes. Wanna get a great deal on a rural residence in Alaska? So if you are driving along through nowhere, maybe north of Fox, and you see a bizarre roadside store back in the trees, with a lot of stuff around it and an impressive sign, like Haystack General Store, you may be driving through downtown nowhere. Do not blink, or you will wonder if what you thought you saw was real. And it may not be there when you drive by again. Some of the places that disappear, were in Alaska.
North of Haystack. Another metropolis that wasted away when the freeway was built around it. The road to Manley, northwest of Fairbanks, went through Livengood, a gold mining city, back when gold was big. There was a bar and liquor shack up on the slope above the road where another road turned to the main gold mine. Then big oil built the oil pipeline nearby, and straightened the road. So much for Livengood. Now it is off the road a couple miles, but the gold still flows through town.
Minto was on the Tanana River. The river flooded on occasion. So the government boys decided to make a new town for the Minto folks, and move them, to the other side of Minto flats, a long ways from the river, but at the edge of the connected lakes and sloughs, near the road to the liquor stores. You could tell the government dolts to mind their own business, but they do not have any of their own business because they do not have a life of their own, so it would not do any good to tell them. Their life is your life, or else. I would enjoy being a Minto person, still getting even with the government, much to their amusement.
Manley Hot Springs:
End of the road northwest of Fairbanks, except for the spur to the Tofty gold mines. Nice hot springs. Quaint place. Great residents. Worth the visit. You may want to stay. It is that picturesque. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, live in Manley and did not even change their name. The old original lodge is decorated with old original mammoth bones. Traditional 4th of July celebrations on the lawn of the town airstrip. Next to the Tanana River. Take an extra car in case the road takes the first one.
End of the road northeast of Fairbanks, where the road runs into the Yukon River. A good place to turn around if you are doing a road trip in that beautiful interior Alaska area.
Circle Hot Springs:
A spur off the road to Circle. Early gold miners discovered it. Worth visiting. Hot and warm pools, with a sizable swimming pool. Quaint lodging. Good airfield. We skydived into Circle Hot Springs for an outrageous party one December back in the good old days, and survived the return trip despite the bold pilot. Well, when you have a parachute, you do not care what the pilot does if he just gets to altitude. He gets to altitude if he is also a skydiver with a parachute, and then gets bold. Non-skydivers might be concerned about being trapped on top of a solid cloud lawyer, without instruments, and rapidly approaching night.
Short of Circle a ways. Gold mining. Real gold mining. If you want to visit real gold mining, drive to Central, stop in at the cafe, and ask to visit any of the local gold mines, if the cafe is still open, if there is anyone mining gold that summer. Just do not say anything an IRS agent might say, and mention the stinking government.
Main truck stop on the north slope haul road, south of the Brooks Range a ways. If you drive the haul road, you will stop there. Coldfoot started out in the early days as a gold miner's camp. It grew big enough to have a post office. Then the gold went north a few miles to Wiseman, so Coldfoot evaporated and Wiseman blossomed. Then black gold up north made Coldfoot a good pipeline construction camp site, with an airstrip. Then the pipeline was finished so the camp of Atco Unit living quarters evaporated again, and condensed wherever pipeline workers made their homes, shops, hunting camps, gold camps, and diverse other things. Then an enterprising chap made a truck stop there, with the assistance of truckers dropping off all sorts of leftover stuff from Prudhoe. You will stop there on the way by.
I worked there awhile during the pipeline. One day I checked out the garbage dump, and noticed a bear had seriously cut his paw on a five gallon butter can, no doubt seriously irritating him. His fresh tracks with blood in the snow were a bit distinctive so I followed them for quite a ways in the woods, just to see where he was going, until it dawned on me that I might find out. I thought it wise to turn around. The more I realized how far I had gone, the faster I walked and the more often I looked over my shoulder.
The government recently built a 6.7 million dollar useless Visitors Center at Coldfoot. Tax money. There is nothing to visit at Coldfoot, except the useful truck stop on the other side of the road. A vast amount of tax money that disappeared, was last seen in Alaska.
Just north of Coldfoot. Gold mining town. Course gold in the area. Big nuggets. The pipeline goes right by it, and left a lot of heavy equipment there when the construction was completed, much of it not accounted for. Imagine a big yellow D-9 Cat with the serial number welded-over, painted to look like little green spruce trees. Environmental sensitivity.
Oil. End of the road north. Vacation paradise for Tulsa oil field workers. No Alaskans live in Prudhoe Bay. To get most of the jobs in Prudhoe Bay you gotta pee in a cup at the command of a pervert required to watch you. And you are not allowed to have a beard, another amusing trick to cut Alaskans out of jobs in Alaska. Who in human history would grovel so low as to pee in a cup on command of a pervert with a government-authorized title, to get a common labor job, while the government and oil corporate kings making the decisions exempt themselves from their intentional tactic to maliciously demean their peasant minions? Who, if not demeaned minions? No Alaskans live in Prudhoe Bay. But a lot of those cute little Tulsa boys grovel there. They really like that game with the cup. They won't let you work there without playing it with them.
Back before the peecup game, when Alaskans worked there, a couple of us were walking out in the expansive maze of sand dunes on the east side of the bay, for a pleasant Sunday afternoon stroll. Some heavy fog rolled in, very heavy fog. You couldn't see fifty feet through it, and the moisture made the surface of the sand dark. Our tracks exposed the dry light colored sand. Curious thing. We stopped to watch the fog turn our tracks dark with moisture, in eight minutes. Shortly thereafter we came across the light dry bear tracks. I think my best rhetorical constructions still failed to convince either her or I that everything was cool, as we casually ambled straight back toward the road.
Richest little town in the realm. Not many people. A lot of oil tax money. No way to express the wealth. Ice and dark all day in the winter. Cold and sunny all night in the summer. Barrow is between the flat North Slope swamps and the flat Arctic Ocean ice. Polar bears and mosquitoes prowl the streets. Whaling is a local thing. Non-stop flights south to Fairbanks are available, for lack of any place to stop.
Gold. End of the Iditarod sled dog race. Wyatt Erp lived there awhile. There is a railroad at Nome. It leads to nowhere. The train can be seen sitting out on the tundra, where it last stopped many years ago. Nome has the best welfare system in the world. Years ago, the city government staked gold claims on the beach, for public use. Anyone can show up in Nome and mine the beach with a hand shovel and sluice, and find enough gold each day to earn a living. There is no need for welfare or begging. Of course by the second day they will also have learned enough about gold mining to find another job. The gold stories are exaggerated. IRS records show that so little gold has come out of Nome that nearly every gold miner went broke, every year.
Places in southcentral somewhat...
Los Anchorage is closer to Los Angeles than it is to Alaska. Holding darn near half Alaska's population, Los Anchorage is a seething mass of humanity densely packed in freeway gridlock. A lot of people in Anchorage have never seen Alaska, and do not even know it is here. People have gone to Anchorage, and never escaped. Some of the people who disappear in Alaska, were last seen in Anchorage. The humans are so thick in Anchorage, they had to stop moose hunting in the city. So now the moose are so thick, and so slow when they jaywalk across the streets, the traffic jams are worse than LA. Buy the post card, and do not even stop there if you are looking for Alaska. Of course if you are looking for some of the worthy attributes of Anchorage, just as I still am after many years of searching, talk to an Anchorage person, not a Fairbanks person. There is one outrageous place created by a couple mountain climbers, where you might want to stop for a pizza and beer, sose to get the energy to escape. The Moose's Tooth. But do not confuse it with the real Moose's Tooth, or you will end up on the summit, if you can climb a lot of vertical rock above glaciers, dang hungry and a long ways from any pizza.
You can drive there now. The old railroad tunnel is a highway tunnel, but watch out for the train that still runs through it. Whittier is where you launch your kayak or larger boat, to head out into Prince Williams Sound, if you did not get into the Sound from Valdez. It is an old military place built for the harbor. The town itself? Is there a town?
Everyone remembers the start of the oil pipeline at Prudhoe Bay, but no one remembered the end of the pipeline at Valdez until Saint Joseph Hazelwood did what famous ship captains have done since ship captains were invented, get drunk and run their ships into rocks. It was the most known rock in the Valdez Arm, Bligh Reef, but boats are attracted to rocks, as countless wrecks prove. Alaska laborers funneled into Valdez to milk the oil companies for the oil spill jobs. I was there. After the oil pipeline was built, Alaska laborers were often heard to say: "Just give us one more pipeline. I promise I won't piss away the money this time." Then it was: "Just give us one more oil spill." For the same reason.
But the real Valdez is the ice climbing mecca of the realm. The coastal weather of the mountain-bordered Valdez fjord creates many waterfalls plunging great distances. And they freeze in the winter. And the waterfall ice climbers flock to Valdez. Bridalveil Falls, Hung Jury, Wowie Zowie, and many more classics. And that aint all. The helicopter extreme snowboarding and skiing on the glacier-clad peaks looking down at downtown Valdez are the world-class standard other places barely match.
Great place to launch your kayak. The Valdez arm is boring, but around the corners you might find a bit of interest. Watch out for Bligh Reef if you are loaded with fine wine, either in the wine hold or otherwise. If you are blithfully paddling your kayak through the narrows, and you hear the rushing sound of a waterfall, and don't notice one on the hills at either side, you might look over your shoulder, and hope you didn't wait as long as I did one time, to see the bow wake off a super tanker bearing down on you at close quarters. Those things are wider than many ships are long. You might want a good rudder and a strong paddling arm.
The 1964 earthquake sank the original town site in the middle of the Valdez Glacier outwash, so it was moved a few miles to an ideal spot at the bottom of an avalanche slope. The hazards don't stop there. A few years ago a tourist Winnebago was at a downtown service station. The gentleman driver was putting gas in the rig when the lady of the vehicle stepped outside with her yappy little foofoo dog. It didn't take but a couple seconds for an eagle to come off a nearby power pole and snatch that little thing right at her feet, flying off across the bay. Her expression of horror was balanced by the gentleman's dramatic expression of elation, behind her back. Some of the pets which disappeared in Alaska, were last seen in eagle habitat.
Homer doesn't need to be made famous by its inclusion in the famous AlaskaStories.com because it already got famous by the Homer guy who does all the radio commercials for some hotel chain. Yeah, they leave the light on at Homer too, on account of no one got put in charge of turning it off. Homer is another classic end of the road town. Homer is the Homer Spit, a long sand spit extending into Kachemack Bay. At the end of the road, the end-of-the-roaders put up their tents on the spit. It is a quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem. A bit more beautiful that the other beautiful places. Gardens. Organic things and people. Fishermen, kayakers, fishermen. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, are in Homer, living a good life, while the IRS is still hunting for them in Midville USA.
Another great kayak launch, and a nice town. After the Exxon oil spill, it got a lot of oil money for a sea life center, sort of an aquarium thing, and other things, because the spilled oil was rumored to have been seen in the area. The south end of the Alaska Railroad reaches the Seward harbor. Seward has lot of economic activity in yet another beautiful place.
The town of Kodiak is the place you will most likely arrive on Kodiak Island. That is about all you can say for it, unless you are a Kodiak resident, and then the things that are said cover the spectrum.
Kodiak island has superlative qualities, such as Kodiak brown bears. They are notoriously large, and they eat deer hunters. Deer hunting is quite popular on Kodiak Island. The bears have learned that the sound of a rifle shot means that a nice juicy deer is conveniently available to slurp-up. But sometimes the deer hunter misses, and the bear arrives for a meal, and the only thing around is the hunter. Hunters cannot run as fast as deer. Yeah, sometimes the hunter gets the bear, but the vegetation is dense, and sometimes the bear gets the hunter. Some of the people who disappear in Alaska, were last seen on Kodiak Island.
Places in southeast...
Juneau is a street between saltwater and a steep avalanche slope. Rain is Juneau's best attribute. Juneau suffers the blight of the State capital and the type people it attracts. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, got a government job in Juneau, and were no longer identifiable as humans. When the tourist cruise ships pull into Juneau during the summer, the density of people doubles for a few hours until the ships depart. But you do not have to spend much time there. Get off the airplane, take the taxi a few miles north to the Auke Bay wharf, and launch your kayak. The liquor store is right at the start of the wharf.
Glacier Bay National Park:
Glacier Bay is a place to visit, once, maybe, if you are not satisfied with the post card. In the past it was a beautiful place, then the swine in Washington DC seized it. Don't misinterpret my comment. I have a degree in wildlife biology, and I was raised on a farm. I know the difference between swine and the fine public servants wallowing in Washington DC. I therefore apologize for slighting the good character of wholesome farmyard pigs by associating their name with the stinking feds.
If you show up in Glacier Bay National Park, you have already violated several federal regulations. You may be randomly cited under the increasingly lucrative federal program of taxation by fraudulent citation. The police, who are functionally immune to criminal charges for their crimes committed under color of law, simply calculate your cost of defending yourself in court, and write fraudulent citations for a little less. They have the data on computer programs now. It is one of the primary taxation schemes in the country. As one National Park Pig once stated to me: "We can arrest you for virtually anything. It's true." Virtually anything is now a crime in what was the land of the free, and the Organized Police are raking in the dough.
Just paddle your kayak right past the Park headquarters. Don't even slow down to wave. There are endless stories of the poor sad sorts who sink to Park Service jobs, who actually believe those lies their government superiors tell them. Consider a typical lesson. Would you hire me for a kayaking guide if I and the government told you that you could hire only me, and we would arrest you if you hired anyone of your choice? Well? If someone backed by armed thugs with badges, threatens to arrest you if you hire the competition, he is too incompetent to survive against competition, and too dishonest to be around when the incompetence becomes evident. These poor government dolts and the mindless minions in their pocket of permit holders are the reason intelligent people laugh themselves to tears at mention of the government dolts. The incompetent political hacks who get Park Service guiding permits as pay-offs for political support, also act as informants for the Park Service, so be careful about what you say if you encounter other kayakers in Glacier Bay, who might be guided by the permit holder's slavering minions. Practice stealth kayaking and camping when in the territory of the mentally unstable, armed Park Service thugs.
Oh, and besides the other cases in Glacier Bay National Park, a brown bear once ate a visitor, except for a few smaller parts and his camera. So if the Park Cops catch you, and make you put a wire seal on your gun, or some such idiot-drill, humor them, do what they say, let them go away, then rip that wire off so your gun is actually useful the instant the bear starts giving you a headache with its teeth. If the Park dolts catch you again, tell them that a bear threatened you. Those poor Park Service children genuinely and sincerely believe that they are mature enough to carry guns, but that you are not because you didn't sink to a mindless government job. Pity them. Then get out of their Gulag as soon as the tide turns.
Gustavus is located on private land next to the Glacier Bay National Gulag. Magnificent Place. If you can get a reservation for a meal at the Gustavus Inn, you will later tell people about the superlative epicurean experience. Gustavus has a classic Alaskan underground community, because there are a number of National Park feds who live in the area, and nearly all human actions, and nearly all humans, are illegal in the distorted federal minds constantly searching for people to arrest and cite. Gustavus has a significant airport with jet service from nearby Juneau. If you arrive by kayak, paddle up the creek to the small boat wide spot in the creek. Do not tie off at the open water dock in Icy Strait, just because things are calm at the moment, like I foolishly did when I thought I was smart. My kayak was still tied up when I got back after the wind picked up, but barely.
Tell no one of Elfin Cove. It is a secret. But then, it costs a lot to get there to do nothing but see Elfin Cove, and worth the trip if you have more money than good sense. The person with less money can kayak there from Auke Bay, and will get there just about the time the whiskey and wine hold needs restocking from the Elfin Cove watering hole. Fishing town. The cove is around back, through a narrow slot. A board walkway goes around the rock on one side of the slot, hanging over the water.
So the story goes that each year on the 4th of July the locals gather up whatever leftover explosives have been laying around, the nitro oozing out the bottom side, pitch it into a 55 gallon barrel, drag it out into the harbor, and touch it off. And the story about the year they didn't take it far enough out in the harbor is well known by the folks in Pelican. Most of the windows have been replaced. Pelican is among the several towns that display more character than any several lower 48 towns can muster for the 4th of July. But not too many are saluting the Washington DC flag. They practice for a different independence day.
Everyone wants to live in Sitka. It is that good. There may be a few reasons why so few people live there, but it is worth the visit. It has a lot of history, what with the early Ruskies mixing it up with the earlier locals. A sea kayaker will love the place. It sits across the bay from the classic-shaped, rather imposing Mt. Edgecumbe volcano.
There was the time a few years back when a few of the locals clandestinely gathered up a couple bundles of old tires, and paid the no small amount of money for a helicopter driver to clandestinely sling-load them up to the crater of Mt. Edgecumbe early one clear morning, and torch them. It does not take much smoke suddenly coming out of a volcano crater to cause a whole lot of running-around, pointing and shouting, among a town of humans at the bottom of the volcano.
If you want to go to a place nobody goes to, Port Alexander. Nice place. Nice folks. Little cute little harbor. Besides being a beautiful little spot at the south end of Baranof Island, you can say you were there. Of course if you survived a kayak trip in that area, you will stop in because it is there, and wonder if you should maybe hitch a ride on a more substantial fishing boat to get back to wherever you started. Some of the people who disappeared in Alaska, were last seen trying to kayak to Port Alexander.
Ya, sure, ya betcha, ya wanna check out Petersburg, but I don't know why. Sure, it is as beautiful as all those places in Southeast. Just do not be lazily paddling your kayak up the Wrangell Narrows just south of town when the ferry comes out of Petersburg, going south. The Wrangell Narrows are narrow. The ferry is big. Your kayak is small. And just when you figure you will be passing on one side of the ferry, about the time you are out of sight of the ferry driver, below the side of the boat, it is going to make a turn to stay in the deep part of the narrow channel, and you may not be on either side of the very close ferry. Some of the people who disappear in Alaska, were last seen from a ferry.
More places will be added, as more time is invented...