There are a few unpaved roads out of Nome (granted they don’t lead to any bigger civilization), and today I got to go on a field trip with the other new doctor Tim and his lovely wife Sarah Miller, we went East along the coast to Council “City”. This was the first thing we saw on our road trip this morning:
The drive was stunningly beautiful with the tundra painted with oranges, reds, greens with a backdrop of blue mountains and blue streams running through it. I learned today that along here (the Safety Sound) is a bird-watchers paradise, with rich wetlands throughout the tundra. Also, this where the Bering Land Bridge used to connect this continent to Russia! And last, but not least, this is where the home stretch of the Iditarod trail passes before ending in Nome.
We got to see the train going to nowhere:
On the sign in front of the train: “Rusting Legacy. These locomotives and flat cars are remnants of the unsuccessful attempt to build a railroad to gold mines near Council City. the locomotives began service on elevated railways of New York City, then became the workhorses of the Council City and Solomon River Railroad (CC&SRR) in 1904. The great storm of 1913 destroyed the Solomon River Railroad bridge, stranding them here.”
Then we chanced upon a herd of musk-ox. They wouldn’t let us get very close, which is probably for the better.
Two of the larger musk-oxen.
There is a lot of road work, which seems surprising out here, but I guess no place is immune to summer road construction. My friend in Anchorage (Kieara) told me a joke that there are four seasons in Alaska: Winter, Winter, Winter and Construction.
We stopped a few places along the way, just to enjoy the jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery.
And then we arrived at Council City, now a small end-of-the-road village, that used to be a city with up to 15,000 inhabitants during the late1890s, but most of them moved to Nome around 1900 when more bigger, better gold was found. Part of the town is perched on a rocky bank overlooking the river and the sandbar, where we picnicked.
Standing in the river in front of the town. I love my Bogs boots (a warmly insulated, waterproof must-have for Alaska)!
Around here we saw a lot of these outboard jet motors, since the rivers are so shallow–just like we used to have on our river in New Guinea!