with over 20 years in this amazing place. it's never dull. i hope to enjoy years of exploration here.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
more nome since the last post didn't load all the photo's...so i'll just do a repeat.
well that is a wordy title. oh well. i can be quite wordy at times. these are still on the road to council that first day. never actually made it to council as before you get to the community of council there is a river to cross. locals use their cars,but it isn't "advisable" to take your rental car across. perhaps some went against advice and that was why my window had to be up to open the door. was thinking to day how sticky and gross the steering wheel was on that car. i had to peel my hands off of it several times.
it is so nice to be back in my own car. it's stinky too though. the rental had the odor of cigarettes and chronic drunk in it. my car smells like old wet dog. equally disgusting i'm sure to someone else. we all get used to our own odor. i remember on the plane sitting by the gal from that small village and she had that musty cabin odor about her. when i lived in ketchikan i never noticed my musty cabin odor until i went south, then it seemed that it had followed me there. i did have it. so i really can't judge others with their own community acquired odors.
these are back at the train to nowhere. i had three different camera's i was working with and the second canon body i'd flip the lens from the regular 50mm to the macro to the wide angle. the other body i just kept the 300 zoom on. you always want to be ready just in case something cool comes up. my big animal sightings all happened in the city of nome. no grizzly sightings, no caribou.
as you can see my first day was lovely weather. despite being tired and hungry i pressed on. i didn't sleep all that much over the week. you really feel obligated, especially as a tourist, to take advantage of all that light and good weather. the sun is out all day and all night so you should be to.
i'm sure i put some mileage on that car. as long as i was paying the price i figured i should utilize it. i'd top off the tank every morning. better to be out there with as full a tank as possible.
i got past solomon. a small town. i think the actual town of solomon has moved several times over the years and i'm not sure that there are many if any year round residents. though you never know. probably more like the fish camps. i didn't see anyone out there and i didn't drive the roads as i was getting tired about here.
gold mining was prevalent in these parts as well as in nome. below is an old dredge. you can see several of these old dredges throughout the region.
another dredge in the distance by the river.
every year i do a big trip and this year nome was supposed to be that big trip. then as everyone backed out i had an internal debate about whether this should still be considered my big trip for the year...i have since decided that even though i was alone it was still my big trip. so i'll keep it in the standing of being the annual trip...i know silly semantics, but nome deserves to be on the list. it was also an expensive venture so worthy of big trip status.
as far as photography is concerned in some ways it was better to be alone. eventually i had a moment with a group of musk ox. a moment that would never have happened if i'd been with other people.
the text contact was nice though. didn't talk to a lot of people in town really. was out driving a lot. when i did wander around town i did chat with whoever i ran into. everyone i met was friendly enough. i find that people love to talk about themselves if you only give them the opportunity and show interest. everyone has an interesting story to tell if you are willing to take a moment to listen. especially in these remote parts of alaska. their day to day lives are fascinating.
one of the nicer bridges. quite a bit of road construction this direction. i must say the roads all were pretty decent overall. not full of major potholes or anything. better than the denali highway or the dalton highway.
some points came up with my chat with my brother. he gets frustrated with the church we grew up in, the mormon church. i left years ago, he's remained in. it was kinda funny as in this chat it came up that one thing i've never liked is how many of these religions are now just big corporations and that the church headquarters have become like big government having all the power and control and dictating more and more what everyone does at the ward level. not exactly how it came out, but it was funny as my brother commented that while he has always been extremely frustrated and hard on our government for having too much power and control over our lives he somehow accepts this in his religion. i just had to laugh, yeah, why is that?
it is funny. there are so many things about the mormon church that haven't sat well with me for years. i just left, end of frustration. not sure why people stay in groups or organizations that bring them such frustration. fear usually. i have no regrets for having left.
the supreme court ruled that california can't stop gays from marrying..well i must say i don't know the wording exactly. i've always figured in our world filled with hate we should support any love that dares try to thrive. the mormon church spent a great deal of time, effort and money in the battle to stop gay marriage. i told my brother i predict that in the not so distant future the mormon church will have a revelation that will follow social changes and support gay marriage. like they did with blacks in priesthood and banning polygamy. religion is interesting anyway. i did find the small mormon church in nome as i was wandering around. it was in a building that looked like a small house.
there are probably as many churches in nome as bars, which seems to be the case in many of these smaller towns in alaska. ketchikan was the same as well.
many communities in alaska are 'dry". in some you have to have a permit or license to have your alcohol i think. in others that are dry, alcohol is bootlegged and it's a constant battle. many in remote places without access to actual alcohol will take to drinking things with alcohol in it, like mouth wash or nyquil. when one wants to drink bad enough one will find a way.
just some scenery shots from the road.
this is closer back to town. the lagoon by the bridge. i think that is fort davis or what once was fort davis,now it's fishing camps.
i wandered around town a bit after i had closed my eyes for a few minutes. the tourists and street traffic were down. of course, there were still loads of locals out and many folks chilling around bars. getting a bit rowdy. i must say it was one of the few times i had a few moments of feeling a bit uneasy.
there is just that sense of lawlessness, of old west rules that seemed to apply. there just was no police presence. many communities just have safety officers and the state trooper fly or boat in when something is going down or has happened...weather permitting. i did see a few troopers drive past me as i headed to teller the one day. i drove slower and when i got to teller they were both headed back towards nome. not sure what was up with that.
this is the other big hotel in town. this one is generally seen in all the iditarod shots. the other hotel seemed newer and cleaner and it was. this one has more history to it, but it also had that musty odor inside. stale. in the end i was happy i was in the newer and cleaner place. stale is an ugly odor.
the town center has this big church and some statues. i wandered around there about midnight or later to take pictures. there were still people out but not the sort that like me were taking pictures of the tourist stuff.
the church was pretty, not sure what denomination it was. never looked.
went back later and took pictures of myself in this well known nome gold pan.
nome was established in 1901 officially i guess. the name isn't what the inupiat eskimo's first called it. there is some question as to how the name came to be. the most seen story is some guy was mapping stuff and actually wrote "? name" and then the actual map maker thought it said "C nome" meaning cape nome so the cape then became known as cape nome and the town as nome.
these are boat frames the natives would put skins over and take out whale hunting.
a few typical houses in downtown nome. it's pretty bunched up and run down. old bits of stuff are stacked outside homes, even in the nicer area's of town. you never know when you'll need a part. all old stuff seems to end up in these villages, build over and add on. there are a fair amount of cars in town, but there are more folks driving 4 wheelers this time of year. in the winter it changes to snow machines.
didn't see many helmets on anyone at any age. there were a few and i think i saw more if people were out on one of the three roads. really only saw the 4 wheelers on the road towards council. probably headed to the various fish camps and such.
nome's population grew in the 1900's to over 20,000 people at some point during the gold rush era. it was actually at one time the most populated city in alaska. currently i think the population is less than 4000. i'm sure that number can vary wildly depending on whether it's summer, winter or iditarod time.
lots of street/bar names reflect the history as a gold rush or iditarod town. by 1925 the gold rush was over and the diptheria run began to get the vaccine north. it was a series of mushers and dogs that made that run. a guy named kaasen made the last leg with his lead dog i'm guessing balto. a guy named seppala ran the longest with a few dogs togo and fritz. fritz is the one that was stuffed and in the case at the tiny museum.
at one point the locals were trying to change the name of nome to anvil city. the us post office but an end to that and it's remained nome ever since.
it is so hot today. off to open a few windows and let that cool night air blow in. i'm using my laptop for writing. i'm usually up in my office under the fan writing. it was easy to load the pictures to the blog from here than transfer them to the other computer and load them. they are on disc though.
miss breezy chatterbug has been attached to her dog, blossom, since she got back last night. clearly they missed each other.
we all slept in today. rio felt crappy and i think blossom just gets tired after a week of playing with her friend manny and the young boys he lives with. i know she enjoys it though.
these are just more of the fish camps. probably stopped and took a few more photo's every time i passed by.
still some ice and snow out there...takes a while for winter to leave, but it returns fast.
i'm still amazed at the amount of drift wood found in these parts considering the lack of trees. the mountains are close though and there are trees up there...they must come down the rivers.
couldn't decide if i preferred this in colour or black and white.
usually black and white was better for these old beat up shacks.
liked the empty bottle of booze in front of this one.
kinda tells a story.
maybe i'll go catch up on the news. want to share as many pictures as i can of this amazing place. each place i see in alaska is fascinating. there are just so many cool stories that i like to try and pass along in photo's. there is just such a unique history and life here. to live in these places for years and years, generation upon generation...eeking out a living on the land, surviving the elements. it's tough enough in this more modern era, i always think of how much more difficult it was a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago....the nomads that wandered around these places surviving winter after winter. it's just amazing.
i am a wimp. we'd all like to think we'd be able to manage it, that we'd adapt to the environment,but it couldn't have been easy and i'm sure many died or drove themselves to madness. just this whole total light and total darkness thing can play tricks on your mind. good night. enjoy
have lived in alaska since 1995, lived in ketchikan for 6 years and here in anchorage since 2001. it's a wonderful place and i enjoy getting out nearly daily for a walk/hike/stroll or ramble. enjoy the pics