Saturday, June 19, 2010

to chicken or

oops...forgot i put these in for todays...this is the remants of the pedro dredge in chicken. i think i accidently deleted one picture, i'll figure it out tomorrow. this dredge was moved to this location from the the chicken creek. before that it operated out of fairbanks. these dredges...according to the milepost, were common in the late 1800's to 1950's. they floated on the water and the buckets scooped up the muck and then the much was sorted through.
i didn't take the little tour they offered there nor did i try my hand at goldpanning which they give you the opportunity to do for a small fee. there still is gold in them there hills.

i had fun taking pictures of the dredge and watching the swallows who have made it thier current home. cool by me as they like to eat mosquito's. the camp was pretty free of mosquito's. hurray!!
you can see thier nests on the underside of this part of the dredge. they are fast little buggers so i'll see what pictures actually turned out, if any and put them in tomorrow.

so i've had a beautiful lazy rainy day at this end. returned in the wee hours of the night from a short roadie with the dogs to chicken, alaska and beyond. never been to chicken which is why i went. so much to explore in this place. was originally planning on going to kennicott mine in the wrangel st elias park, which i have also not been to yet, but the friend who had talked about going with me couldn't go this weekend so i want to save that trip. still hopeful kelly and i get out there one of these days. there is enough other stuff to check out.
thought it wise to get in the car with the dogs on a bit of a test run. we did fine, but i do think for the big run to deadhorse i'll purchase some sort of large tent to fit us all in. air mattress, the works. i'll sleep better that way. the element is pretty comfy for a trip like this but after a few days with two dogs in there and the load of stuff i'll need for a weeks journey...well, i think a tent would be best. it did work well playing music on the ipod, charging the ipod, watching "julie/julia" on my little dvd player and charging that when it ran out when the movie was almost over. had to wait to see the end til the second night. i quite enjoyed it so i watched it again tonight as i loaded the oodles of photo's i invariably take.
i like that the movie was about blogging. not sure how many people actually read my blog. i rarely get comments. i do feel badly as i do get comments that i delete. i used to just let people comment freely,but i started to get comments in asian and when i looked at thier profiles it was always some seductive young female in some gross pose. no way to know what the comments were really. so i've since just deleted those. it's difficult though. the feminist side of me doesn't want to support anything that i see as using women such as those sites do, the side that was raised by my mom wants to be nice to everyone and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. i often feel i hear her voice telling me to be nice to people who i don't really want to be nice to. she'll just always be one of those "voices in my head" sort of people. not that she was always right or that we agreed about much...but i do believe she is right that it's probably better to err on the side of kindness. a lesson that seems to be getting lost in our culture.
as usual the pictures are loaded backwards...that is just how i am.
above is the sign entering chicken...unique just like the town of chicken. not many folks live here. per the milepost (the alaskan travelers bible) there are 21 in summer and 6 in winter. i'd guess i ran into the bulk of the population in the time i spent there. the gold panners back in the day had apparently wanted to name the community ptarmigan, but there was no dictionary and they couldn't agree on how it was supposed to be spelled. became chicken.
i stayed at the chicken gold camp and outpost...i think. it has the big pedro dredge there. it was clean and very well kept. also afforable. everyone was nice and they even clean the outhouses every day...they were the cleanest outhouses my butt has ever sat in. impressive.
the drive into chicken was lovely. chicken is located on the taylor highway. apparently there was a huge forest fire, probably started by lightening strikes, in 2004. now looking again at the bible...1.3 million acres were burned in the area. forest fires happen. i know the old philosophy of the forest service was to prevent all fire's now i think they've learned that there is value in the fires and now work more to control and contrain them and protect structures.
it was sad to see so many miles of trees burnt up, but also inspiring to see the regrowth of the forest floors everywhere. there were wild flowers everywhere, the area is recovering. it will be a bit before the forest fills in again, but this world of ours was here years before we were and it seems to have a way of coming back to life. us humans are so convinced that we can fix things or improve on mother nature. we're really just idiots sometimes.
it took me quite awhile to drive the road that second day of my roadie. i was just fascinated by the damage and re-growth. i actually left for my trip late wednesday. i had no plan really. did get the dogs walked and got myself organized and packed up. went to the gym for my swim...70 laps and finally started my drive north at 7pm. oops. oh well. i stopped by sutton to see the progress on sharon and chris's place. the dogs enjoyed the visit and chris cleaned my windows and checked and refilled my window cleaner. they suggested i spend the first night at the matanuska glacier campground.
turned out to be an excellent idea. very few mosquito's and you wake up and can walk out and have a look at that glacier. there is a nice loop trail that i took the girls on before the drive that day. i stopped alot to stretch my hip and walk the pups. i'm thinking of going on line and seeing if truckers get this hip pain when driving and what they do about it. this just aging or what. i love a road trip,but the pain is a bitch at times.
above you can see the miles of burnt forest. you can also see the miles and miles of land that is still open and protected...from man, not mother nature obviously.
are these dead trees cool or is it just me?
the enitre area isn't devoid of live trees. the fire was hit and miss through the region so some stands remain...part of natures plan no doubt. i got lucky rain wise really. it had rained the tuesday before i left so gail and i bagged on driving to gold mint and instead just did kincaid. i was distressed as the mosquito's were in full force. the rain today was heaven sent. i didn't garden today like i did the other day...oh well. i had that load of dirt in the back of the car that was incentive to get working. that planter is planted and my poor flowers to go in pots on the deck are still in thier originaly containers on the deck. my lawn looks like those lawns of totally lazy people who never's all crazy and overgrown. of course, i did mow last week, but you must understand we have nearly 24 hours/day of daylight and that grass grows faster than rabbits can breed.
not many people on the taylor highway. i suspect that is often the case. i enjoy the open road. of course, coming back out the next day was a bit more nervewracking for me. my "hey idiot you should have filled the tank in chicken" light came on with over 30 miles to go before i got to a gas station in tok. it was tight, but i arrived in tok...feeling like the idiot i had been. lesson to all who travel in alaska. if you are near a gas station anywhere top off the never know when the next one will come. will if you read the milepost, but the truth is this place is huge and not well populated. stupid things like not filling your tank can make a day turn on you.
some green above and below shows the lack in trees for miles.
okay...the next pictures are on the drive from glennallen to tok. i stopped in glennallen to fill the tank...see that is how you're supposed to do it. i also walked the girls. there are some local trails that i discovered out there a few years back. makes for a nice stretch.
some river and some lake. very discriptive i know. there is just so much out there as you drive by that unless you are following the milepost mile by mile (which tends to be extremely accurate) you will have no idea which they are unless you are writing down exact mile you are at or signage or whatever. i had enough to do keeping the dogs happy and picking music on the ipod. mostly, i just shuffle the tunes. john denver and hal ketchum are good artists to drive to. i also did a run of matchbox twenty and the shuffle. beach boys and beatles aren't generally my favorite driving music, though the music on the "i am sam" dvd is great to drive to. it was fun when my friend kelly joined me last year, she brought her ipod too so that opened up our music library vastly. just get to know someone more when you know thier library of music. she surprised me with some of the old cowboy classics. who knew?
there are loads of wildflowers on the side of the road. thought they looked pretty. there were also loads of moose on the sides of the roads as well. i saw too many to keep track of, but got pictures of few. smartly, they tend to be a bit skittish near the big roads.

actually this bridge was between tok and the taylor...12 miles i believe. i was watching those miles pretty closely and my gas gauge.
the pups took a nap while i drove. i think the driving and the many stops for walks wore them out. the first night blossom opted to sleep in the back with rio and i. i encouraged her to sleep in the front seat on night two as it was just too crowded for all three of us. night two in chicken a fire cracker went off and rio ended up jumping into my lap. that was pleasant as you can imagine.
tok and glenallen are not the big cities that you might imagine. though by alaskan standards quite large i guess. according to the "bible". tok was named after a beloved dog, a husky i believe so now i like tok more. fast eddy's is a hot spot in tok and one must always have a meal there. i got myself a lovely burger and salad.
from what the milepost says tok started out as a camp for workers building the alcan highway.
tok's population is just over 1300 and glennallen is just over 500. i remember driving from ketchikan to anchorage in 2001 (via the ferry of course). my friend carla joined me for the drive in september and looking at the map she was convinced that glennallen was going to be huge considering it was at a major intersection of highways. i tried to convince her that it was probably not that impressive and she was sure there would be a signal and everything. there is just one stop sign though...we pulled into a dive place for lunch...i told her to go in and make reservations while i looked for a place to park the car in this metropolis.
so these next pictures are from the drive from matanuska to glennallen i think.
loved the random phone booth is stop pull out in the middle of nowhere. doubt it still functions,but who knows. phone booths are fast becoming a thing of hte past.
love road shots.

the scenery just doesn't seem real at times.
rio takes a snooze.
these are aspens from our walk in glennallen.
leaving or coming i always look for certain landmarks. that mountain in the middle is called lions head. pretty small ,but always prominent and a sign of home on the return trip.
these mountains are called sheep mountains...well i think they are...that is what i call them sheep mountain lodge is located below them and it's a popular place winter and summers. i've never been of course, but i hear of people going there.
and the matanuska glacier...! you can get to the glacier via the highway and take walks out there. carla and i did that on the original trip in. i will have to do that again as it was a fun little trip and would make a fun day trip. the glacier is some 27 miles long and several miles wide at the terminus which you see there. at one time it extended to palmer which is miles from that terminus, but you see that glacier fairly soon out of glennallen and follow it or the river that comes off it all the way back to palmer. it's crazy huge.

different shot of lions head.
this is behind lions head looking to the matanuska glacier.
trailings of the glacier off in the distance.
the terminus of the glacier...some 4 miles wide.
the glacier wraps around the mountains as it heads to the valley below. i'm sleepy still and hoping to accomplish more tomorrow. i'll also hope to post more and tell more of the trip tomorrow as well. i'm enjoying reading "the namesake" on my new kindle. diggin it so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment