Pajara Creek, a tributary of the Eldorado river, is approximately 25 miles northeast of Nome. It was mined out of gold in the early days by a steel-hulled dredge. Herb Engstrom bought this dredge, dissassembled it, and brought the pieces overland to Basin creek where it was reassembled and put to use. It is at Basin Creek today, run by his son Ron Engstrom.
The red dots on the map show the route we took. The return was almost the same, except from Pajara to Hill 372 was about a half mile south of the outbound track. A big mistake!
The return route was much more difficult. Tortuous, deep ditches, etc. But it sure looked good on the map and from looking at it from a distance.
Two couples & 4 singles:
== Martina & Derrick Leedy
== Roy & Loretta Ashenfelter
== Neil Becker; Ramon Gandia
== Eric Smith; Glen Pardy
All gathered on the Dexter sandbar ready to cross the Nome River.
You can see the Nome River is low, 12 inches of water at the most. Crossing was trivial.
Buster Creek and the start of the Buster Road are right across the Nome river.
Except for Neil and I, the group is making miles, raising some dust on this hot and beautiful July day.
You wants to pay attention and not fall off that cliff to the left.
Past the ridge, we descend to the Osborne River, straight ahead.
Angling up and to the left is New Eldorado.
The trail climbs out of New Eldorado and enters the Willow Tunnels, seen on the upper left of the picture.
Once out of the Willow Tunnels, we climb up and over the saddle, and descend towards Garnet Creek.
I call it Crash Creek because in 1999 I had a bad crash there. I am older and wiser now.
Crash Creek behind us, the trail goes right by those two Alder patches.
Matson Creek is ahead, but in this picture the camera blends the foreground and background and Matson cannot be discerned.
This man was the giant of the trail, and his expertise and leadership is what made it all possible for the rest of us.
Loretta, behind him, is an accomplished rider as well.
Enroute to "Hill 372", we crossed the Flambeau River here.
Hill 372 is a gravelly hill, at least two miles long, and you can do 50 mph.
But it is also the last of the 'good trail.' Beyond here, There Be Dragons.
Arriving at the Eldorado, we found palisades extending miles up and downriver.
We were detained here two hours, until Roy found a way down. I GPS'd that spot, because it is the only place for miles to cross the Eldorado.
Nature blesses us with her beauty and grandeur.
Here is an example of it on the river bar just as we get ready to cross the Eldorado.
"Don't worry Glen, we ain't halfway yet on this trip!"
Glen's decrepit old age, his wheezing, ancient machine with no suspension and an unsatisfied, insatiable appetite has got him pooped out.
At Pajara, finally!
Beyond the wagon it drops off into Pajara Creek, which goes up and to the left upriver for several miles. It is only couple hundred yards to the creek, but incredibly difficult; for ATV or Snowmachine.
Was here in 2011 by snowmachine. Here is what it looks like.
It is easier to see how Pajara Creek meanders away to the northeast.
60 or 70 years ago they did not require reclamation. Therefore, all sorts of interesting cabins and other treasures are left behind for us that follow can admire.
Like this picture of the Pajara fuel dump, hundreds of empty 55-gallon drums: The State Flower of Alaska.
You all be careful, now, you hear?!
Doctor Leedy in fine form, hair sticking straight out, as he negotiates a steep terrace on the way back to Nome.
We tried to cross the Eldorado several miles down, but no way.
We had to cross at the exact, same, magic spot Roy found earlier.
Just two seconds after this picture was snapped, she continued to roll to the right and had to jump off the machine and hold it from tipping over.
In fact, I think that little creek that was two foot wide and two foot deep is just now grabbing his front wheels.
But, with some effort, he got through okay.
Here is a happy dog having the time of her young life!