Saturday, July 18, 2015


It's taken seven months but I have finally written a blog post for 2015. It's been a good summer with local trips and ventures to the "outside".  Yesterday I drove to Circle. It's a small village at the end of Alaska State Hwy 6, the Steese.

162 miles from Fairbanks. Only the first 80 miles of the road are paved, the rest is maintained gravel. Circle sits at the edge of the Yukon River. It's a popular (if not the only) spot to take out at from a Yukon float trip.

The drive there was interesting. I think the most scenic parts are the first 100 miles from Fairbanks to Eagle Summit. After that, not so interesting. My timing was perfect though, the Fireweed was in full bloom and everywhere. Entire hillsides were covered in the brilliant pink. Mostly around Fairbanks you'll find patches of Fireweed but never have I seen it in such voluminous amounts. My pictures don't begin to convey the splendor.

Along the way I stopped at Eagle Summit and hiked around for three or four miles. Eagle summit is famous for being able to watch the sun never set on Summer solstice. It's also the trailhead for the popular 27 mile Pinnell Mountain trail; and it's an infamous part of the Yukon Quest dog mushing race. Eagle Summit is about tree line, spongy tundra and windy as heck. It was difficult to take pictures because I couldn't see with my hair whipping around my eyes or I couldn't keep steady because the wind was blowing me around! But here's a few:
Did I mention it was windy?

Bags of gravel waiting for trail maintenance.

Typical views along the road to Circle:

Ah, bridges. Why are they so seductive?

Cemetery in Circle, although I think it was a pet cemetery.

Alaska cotton.

On the way to Circle is one small town called Central. Central is truly in the middle of nowhere. You're driving along and all the sudden, here's Central! Lots of real estate for sale in Central! Cheap too!

A few miles outside Central is the now defunct Circle Hot Springs. No longer open but at one time this was apparently the "Paris of Alaska". A resort that people flocked too. I find that hard to imagine but that's what they say. Now the hotel is a little creepy looking, like something from The Shining. I wanted to walk around but it was pretty had I done that I'd have been shot. Thank goodness for zoom lenses!

Everything in Circle was typical Alaskan village including the wall of smoke you hit when entering the store.

Of course I was curious about the school and wondered who does their speech therapy?

The gas station in Circle, complete with fire extinguisher. This pump was old school with flipping numbers. I was able to buy exactly 5 gallons.

The pay phone in Circle.

The church in Circle.

The mighty Yukon flowing by Circle.

End of the road. I had read there was a campground in Circle and thought I might spend the night. After a short drive around town I realized this was the campground. The boat launch to the river. I got a coke and a few gallons of gas at the store and left. So long, Circle!

Oh and yes, the mosquitos were out by the gazillions. The only could thing about all the wind at Eagle Summit was that it kept the mosquitos away. I had to take a Benadryl before bed to prevent myself from scratching all night in my sleep.

Stay tuned for a recounting of trips taken this summer and an upcoming camping trip to Denali National Park. I can hardly wait to get a stamp for my National Parks Passport Book!