Klondike Country

This was the place at the heart of the famed “Klondike” gold rush in 1896, and is still filled with remnants from that rich history.  Along the ‘Top of the World Highway’, 200 miles along a mountaintop from Dawson City, Yukon to Tok, Alaska, the artifacts are as plentiful as the amazing auroras.  I also spent some time bushwhacking through Tombstone Territorial, and another trip back there is high on my list.

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Choose your own adventure!  Finally got to see some of those elusive purple auroras.  Had to shoot this sign dark, otherwise you’d be able to read all the dumb chicken related town names, found in Chicken, Ak of course..
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I found this curious Grey Jay, aka. Whiskey Jack aka. Canadian Jay, along the Top of the World Highway.  She even came in for a landing, had me feeling like Snow White.

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An enormous gold dredge beached in Chicken.

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Tombstone Territorial Park has some of the most impressive mountains I’ve come across. Unfortunately circumstances and time restraints stopped me from exploring around here as much as I’d like, but that’s for another time I suppose.
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I loved the little line of autumn following a tiny stream down the mountain, though bushwhacking through alders is the pits.  About 10 miles, I ran into a grizzly.  Part of me would have rather been eaten than find my way back through this devilish undergrowth.
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These are tailings, the raw earth dumped out the dredge after its done its thing refining out the gold.
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They stretched on for miles!
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Another gold dredge, and why preservation of historical structures is important.

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Kennecott, Alaska

A collection of shots that I’m still catching up on from last winter’s trip, this bunch from around Wrangell-St. Elias, a remote national park in Alaska, as well as the remains of a lot of mining history and abandoned structures dotted along the Alaskan and Yukon wilderness.

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The remains of an old roadhouse somewhere along the Yukon highway.
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The ruins of a concentration mill, 7 stories into a hill, overlooking a serene frozen lake.

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It’s wonderful the gov’t stepped up to preserve this amazing slice of American history, the Kennecott copper mining town, overlooking a massive glacier.

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A trestle towards an old mining town hangs on to its last legs in the remote Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. 

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Independence Mine and Hatcher’s Pass, Alaska

I’ve been bad about posting awhile, as I’d basically been living on the road for the last year or two.  But I’m back at the computer and ready to share what’s been my most prolific period yet.  The road took me from Los Angeles to northern Alaska in the dead of winter, and then right back up the following autumn with plenty of adventures in between.  There’s so much to show I’m not sure where to begin, so I’ll just start with my favorites and see where we end up.

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I was wandering around SE Alaska, restocking on supplies in Anchorage, when the cashier told me about a Independence Mine, an hour north in the mountains above Hatcher’s Pass.  What a tip! I found one of the coolest and most well-preserved historic sites I’ve stumbled upon. Even with snow shoes, it was one of those miserable hikes where every few steps I’d posthole up to my waist, but after battling the snow drifts and spending 2 hours to hike only a mile, the town did not disappoint!  I ended up making three trips here over the next week, and each night the changing weather and auroras made for a wonderful array of lighting to play with.

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There’s a whole other set of images from this location, that I took when I went back to Alaska the following autumn, so stay tuned and I’ll get those up here soon.

Colorado Ghost Towns and Abandoned Mines

I spent a few weeks driving around the Rockies in Colorado and finding all sorts of great places long abandoned and slowly returning to the earth. 
St. Elmo, a wonderful preserved little ghost town in the heart of the Sawatch Range, and the jumping off point to a number of old mining sites way up in the mountains.  
Along Colorado’s Scenic Alpine loop lies the ghost town of Animas Fork, an amazingly well preserved ghost town that has stood dormant since this mill closed more than 100 years ago.  
The bones of an old church jut out of a forest along Hwy 25 in eastern Colorado, the only remains of an old mining town which once thrived there.