On the way home from our camping trip, we made a super-quick stop at mile 16.6 of the Steese Highway.
On a side note…if you are ever given directions for anything outside the city limits in Alaska, it almost always includes these words: “Mile ____ of the ______ Highway.”
For instance, the state park we camped at was “Mile 39 of the Steese Highway.”
This state park was Mile 11 of the Elliot Highway.
This state park was Mile 48, Chena Hot Springs Road (no highway, but same concept.)
See the pattern?
The tricky part, is if it is a highway you are not familiar with…you better know which end they are counting from!
Back to mile 16.6
This particular spot is very famous. Why?
Because it was where Felice Pedroni, aka Felix Pedro discovered gold in the nearby creek…aptly named “Pedro Creek.” This led to the gold rush that led to the founding of Fairbanks!
Because of Pedro’s discovery, over the period of time from 1903-1910, $1.8 million of gold was mined from here. Back when gold cost $17.73 an ounce. Do you know what gold goes for now? GULP!
Just up the road from here is the famous “Fort Knox Gold Mine”…Alaska’s largest gold mining operation. Since 1996, Fort Knox has mined 3.5 million ounces.
Even after all these years, people STILL come and pan for gold in the very spot!
There’s just a little bit of trivia to enlighten your day!