Bogged Down on Bear Creek

Council Travel Blog

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The Niukluk River too high to cross
  

Midnight skies had cleared enough to show patches of blue and the temperature warmed. Even a few mosquitoes were a pleasing nuisance - signaling  the weather system had finally passed. I worked until 1:00 a.m. to complete the airframe portion of a 100 hour inspection on the helicopter and looked forward to a full day of exploring the Council area. But morning brought more gray overcast, bitter cold wind, and rain. The weather was beginning  to bum out my wilderness experience.

 

 Around noon, I borrowed a narrow shovel and a pair of red rubber insulated gloves from the geologists at camp. I got a pair of tweezers, a dental pick, and a small magnet from my toolbox, packed a lunch, grabbed my gold pan, and continued to follow the Nome-Council Road.

Stuck on Bear Creek
Well I didn't get far. It was just two or three miles to the Niukluk River and road's end. Waters were far to high for the Dodge Nitro, or any vehicle, to make the crossing into Council.

 

Built in 1897-98 when gold was discovered on nearby Ophir Creek, Council had a population of around 15,000. When larger deposits were found near Nome around 1900, the town was nearly abandoned. Today just a few buildings remain and only a handful of people live in Council year round. The settlement is primarily a fishing village now. The nearby stand of white spruce are the nearest trees to Nome. I scooped just one pan of dirt from the riverbank and found nothing. With the miserable wind and rainy weather, my interest turned more to wildlife so I drove back to Bear Creek which was closer to camp.

 

While creeping downstream along the creek-bed, I managed to get the Nitro bogged down in soft gravel up to its rear axle. I shoveled dirt out from under the rental and lined its rearward tracks with larger rocks and pieces of wood for traction. Then, before implementing my escape plan over lunch, I noticed the electrical 4WD knob which had been hidden under my king-size Reece's Peanut Butter Cups. Though the Dodge Nitro still would not reverse out of the sand trap per my plan, it trudged forward onto higher ground. 

alyssa_ob says:
I'm glad you got unstuck. Its difficult when you're by yourself in the middle of nowhere! (those darn new-fangled 4wd switches!)
Posted on: Jul 17, 2008
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The Niukluk River too high to cross
The Niukluk River too high to cross
Stuck on Bear Creek
Stuck on Bear Creek
Swans between camp and Council
Swans between camp and Council
Bear Creek sign
Bear Creek sign
Bogged down on Bear Creek
Bogged down on Bear Creek
Council
Council
Council
photo by: rotorhead85