Deadhorse, drove south down the Dalton until around 2 AM. It
was so light out I could have forced myself to drive all night, but
I noticed that my reflexes were getting worse, and I'd pay for it
the next day. Had to try to get a least a couple of hours
Hwy 1, Milepost 16
# (907) 745-5120
May 1 - Sept. 30
Hrs.: 8AM - 10PM
& Below: Yeah! Sheep Mountain Lodge &
Hostel. Got there with 20 minutes to spare. The
restaurant was just closing, but they put my order in, and I was
happy as a clam!
a place to sleep--Heaven!
Took a little break to stretch my legs. Driving down the
Dalton at midnight.
Doesn't look too comfortable. Had gotten up around 5am and
left from Coldfoot to Deadhorse. Turned around and drove all
the way back to a little past Coldfoot. Pulled over at 2am.
closed the windows I had to find & kill all the mosquitoes that
had gotten into the car or else they would have kept me awake.
Locked the doors & left the keys in the ignition--just in case.
before 6am, and drove to Fairbanks.
about going back to Grandma Shirley's, but decided against it.
to drive to Denali (Mount McKinley) and stay at that hostel.
to the Denali Hostel around 3PM. The sign in the door said it
was closed until 5pm. That gave me 2 hours to wait
around. Couldn't do it. Headed toward Anchorage to stay
at a Hostel there.
Drove by 3 or 4 abandoned cabins scattered along the way. I
bet they had stories to tell.
Here's the Great Matanuska Glacier. Passed it on the way to
Palmer. Wow! The road to Palmer was curvy &
steep. And long. It was getting late. I had to get
there before the hostel closed it's doors at 10PM!
As I got
closer to Anchorage I grew more leary of having to search for the
city hostel. Often it's a pain to look for a hostel in a city.
again I changed my mind and decided to go on to the next hostel--The
Sheep Mountain Lodge & Hostel in Palmer, Alaska.
hostel would be up in the mountains, easy to find and
uncrowded. Little did I know just HOW FAR in the mountains it
The hostel was a co-ed dorm consisting of 3 bunk beds in one of
these cabins. They were neat & clean. The other
cabins were rented out to other tourists.
Nice heavy duty bunks with plenty of room to sit up (if I
wanted to). I was happy to just conk out. So tired I
could have slept on the floor and not known the difference!
breakfast the next morning, I saw the man from Israel standing on
the side of the road with his backpack. The woman from Canada
left just ahead of me. She passed by him. I don't
usually pick up hitchhikers, but when he put his thumb up--I
couldn't just drive right by him. Cars out there are few and
far between. So I stopped, and picked him up, and I'm glad I
were two other hostellers in the cabin. One was a woman from
Canada. She had her car too. The other was a man from
me that he had just flown in from Israel to the Anchorage
airport. He was making his way through Alaska, and then going
into Canada. He was on his way to Valdez, The junction
in the road for Valdez was about 60 miles down the road. When
we got there, I'd let him out so he could head south to Valdez, and
I'd head north for Tok.
the quickest 60 miles I've ever driven. The young man was very
interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation.. He had a
good sense of humor, was calm, & relaxed but at times there
seemed to be a sadness about him.
told me that he had just got discharged from the military after 6
yrs. of active duty. That was one reason that he was on this
trip--he had never been out of his country before, and he wanted to
go someplace totally different. He also said that this was the
first time that he'd been away from his parents, and he missed them
and was a little homesick.
our conversation he told me about places he'd like to see. And
I told him about the places that I'd been. I mentioned Rachel,
Nevada when the jet pilot put on a little show for the tourists by
breaking the sound barrier 3 times and how the huge flames came out
of the back of the jet. Then the young man added in a soft
voice, that he had seen many jet fighters.
asked him about his country. He said that all men had to go
into the military for at least two years. I asked him if there
was only one son in the family, would he still have to fight?
He said, "Yes." But if a family had lost a father or brother
in the war, then the other son could only serve if his parent signed
a paper giving him permission.
said that woman have to serve for at least 18 months. The
don't have to go into ground combat, but they can become pilots.
reached the junction in the road and parted ways. If I'd had
more time, I would have driven him to Valdez.
another good thing about hostelling--I got to meet, and to talk to
people who I otherwise would never have had the opportunity to talk
to. And I'm sure that there were cases where people who
otherwise might not have considered talking to me--had the chance to
see that we are more alike than different. There were many,
many times when hostelling allowed me to get to get a little glimpse
into the lives of so many different kinds of people--different
nationalities, different ages, and from all walks of life.
are so many "labels" people give each other. It's just human
nature. Sometimes it's so engrained we don't even realize were
doing it. I know that I've been guilty of it. I try not
to be judgemental.
felt it when people have been judgemental toward me. Maybe
because of the way I looks, or my age, or I'm too quiet, or
whatever. That's just the way it is.
people can see beyond the stereotype.
ever "assume" anything about anyone.
Where'd all that come from! Well, I better get down off my
soapbox before I fall down!
back to the journey....
Here's a picture of another abandoned cabin near Slena,
Alaska. Notice the teddy bear jammed in the front door.
There was a basket ball hoop mounted on the collapsing garage
door. A rotting picnic table in the back yard. A rusted
swing set. In the side yard there was what looked like a
combination playhouse and doghouse: Below
Some of the scenery around Sheep Mountain Lodge & Hostel
Picture of my car parked in the drive way of the above abandoned
cabin. Lots of wildflowers in Alaska.
Now I know you can't see the linx in this picture--but it IS
there! Really! It's sitting right there looking at
me. It WAS closer. But it moved. Ya' know they do
going to tell the "Linx Story" whether you want to hear it or
not...you can always skip over this part. But I gotta' tell it
anyway--'cause linx sightings are extremely rare...and this one
stopped and posed for this picture. How was he/she to know
that I had a crappy camera?
here's the story...
driving down the deserted road near Slana, something ran across the
road right in front of me. It was a pretty good size, light
brown. And had a short, stubby tail like a boxer dog.
There were no cars around, so I pulled over quickly and fumbled for
animal was some kind of a big cat. I thought it might be a
bobcat or a linx. When I parked on the side of the road, the
cat stopped running and turned it's head to look at me. I
called, "Here Kitty, kitty!" Then to my surprize, it sat down
and continued to look at me.
a second I thought, "Oh no, what if it comes over to the
car? I did't think it really would, but it might.
Should I pat it? It probably has pretty big claws. And
it might bite." So I didn't call, "Kitty, kitty
anymore--'cause I know cats just can't resist it--now matter what
kind of cat they are.
stared at each other eye to eye for perhaps a good 30
seconds. I remember thinking, "Wow, am I lucky! Imagine
eye to eye with a wild animal! It didn't run, it just sat
there--it chose to sit there and exchange stares.
18 wheeler came roaring by. I thought for sure the animal
would run, but it didn't. It just crouched until the truck
passed. But then another truck passed. I looked up and
the cat was gone.
after that, I stopped at a ranger station to use the rest
room. There was a rack of post cards in the office. I
looked through them and found a picture of the large cat that I had
just seen. Picked the picture up and showed it to park ranger
and told her what had just happened down the road from there.
She said, "You saw a linx?" She said that I was very, very
lucky to see one because they are very elusive. All the time
that she had worked there as a ranger, she had never seen one, and
her partner had lived there 10 years and had only caught a glimpse
of a linx twice.
linx to actually stop, sit down, and stare at a person is
extraordinary! Her comments made me feel even more
fortunate. Maybe it was the irresistable, "Kitty, kitty