For many years the group has wanted to explore Crater Creek. Geographically, this is a volcanic bowl and amphiteater in the Kuglaik (Sawtooth) mountain range north of Nome. To get there we travelled to about mile 42 on the Kougarok Road. This took us past Salmon lake to the Crater Creek bridge; we then went up Crater into the mountains and retraced the route on exit.
Map showing Salmon Lake, Crater Creek and the Rock Pile. This is approximately 30 miles north of Nome. Joni's cabin is at milepost 37.
Kenny, Hugh, Larry peeking behind Hugh and Ramon stand by the crane about halfway to Salmon Lake. Keith took the picture.
Ramon cruises by on the way to Salmon Lake.
These new fangled machines are not called "Driver Forward" for nothing. Ramon thinks they are wonderful. Keith does not think so, and rides his old Polaris'
On the way to Salmon Lake we came across this old, narrow gauge home-made railway locomotive. Inside is an automotive motor and controls. Formerly ran the Seward Peninsula Railway tracks. Its wheels and trucks under the snow, it is slowly becoming a future archaelogical find.
At Joni's cabin we met with dogmushing Janet Balice and her support group. She also mushed into Crater Creek; Joni went mountain climbing, and Ryan (foreground fudzing with a fuel container) went ptarmigan hunting.
Ryan stated "No wildlife was harmed during the course of this trip!" Better shooting next time, Ryan!
There were quite a few of these sinkholes with water awaiting daydreaming snowmachiners. This view is looking up the Crater Creek valley.
We went up this side valley and explored it.
Translation: You gotta have Balls in order to go up!
This is Keith and Larry nosed up to the rockpile (next picture). The rest of us came up independently.
Beyond this rockpile is another lake at about a 2,000 ft elevation. Keith and Larry went into that lake, Ramon, Hugh and Kenny stopped at the rockpile.
Looking back the way we came tells us that, indeed, it was steep.
We saw this intimidating chute.
And ther goes that craaaazy Kenny trying it.
He didn't get too far ... but he sure got farther than the rest of us did!
On the way back, Ramon in his Tundra LT stops at the Crater Creek highway bridge.
Kenny and Ramon lie back and relax while lesser beings are outside gassing up and futzing around.
There is something magickal about sunset and twilight. The trail is lonesome and quiet. The hustle and bustle of the day is over. Nature relaxes and gives over to night. Riding this time of the day feels like another dimension.
Joni Earp. Yes, a great, great granchild of Wyatt Earp.