Bogged Down on Bear Creek
Council Travel Blog› entry 22 of 38 › view all entries
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.
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.