Manley Hot Springs, Alaska – A Road Trip and A Lesson Learned

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My dear hubby and I went on a bit of a road trip today. Our mission was to find a moose.

And shoot it.

Here are some of the scenes from the trip today.

If you think this looks beautiful, you would be correct.
And if you think it looks incredibly COLD you would be absolutely correct.
This is “Sawtooth Mountain.”
Beautiful views.
Beautiful birds. (Ptarmigan) Sitting in the highway.
A long, winding highway.
Yes, you read that right. Highway.
And at the end of that road was this. This is an Air service office, a tool shop, and the Electric company!
This is the Fire Station…er…Shed.
And this would be the primary means of transportation for this community.
Oh and this? This is the gas station. And it must have the BEST gas in the country! At least, at $10.80 a gallon, I would assume it is of unusually high quality.
We spent about 11 hours on the road, and traveled about 300 miles. And 99% of the time, we were driving. It was long and slow, but it was beautiful!!!
Now as far as the moose…we did see a GIGANTIC one, about 3/4 of a mile ahead of us. But by the time we got up there, it was too far off into the lowlands, and we couldn’t get it. But at -22 degrees and strong WIND on top of it…I am honestly not sure I would have wanted to be outside for 8 or 9 hours butchering the beast. (Shhhhh! Don’t tell any other hunters I said that! I’m sorry I’m not hard core!)
So that was our trip.

Oh yeah…..the “Lesson.”

Keep your eyes on the road, even when you are searching for moose.
Really, you couldn’t see where the edge of the road was. What looked like road, and what looked like the edge of the road, was really a drift of snow. And under that snow, was snow. And under that snow was, well, nothing. And once part of one of your tires finds that “nothing” you are DONE.
All humor aside, in many places, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Call AAA, or some other service, get a tow truck, pay a bill and go home.
But when you are in Alaska, in subfreezing temperatures, in the subarctic, with NO cell service, and are over 100 miles from a town, on a highway that dead ends in the WILDERNESS…it has the potential to be a deadly situation.
So when we left the house this morning, the truck was packed with blankets, extra gloves, socks, hats, fire starters, “hot hand” warmers, a propane heater with 5 tanks of propane, food, a flash beacon and more.
It isn’t a game, people have died on the shoulders of roads in Alaska, because they got stuck, got a flat or broke down in the winter, and nobody came by until it was too late.
On this day though, we were traveling with my husband’s friend and wife.
They were up ahead of us, driving VERY slowly….looking for moose like us.
We hadn’t been stuck for 3 minutes, when thankfully another truck came by. Their first words were “Tell us what we can do.”
Have I mentioned that for the most part, Alaskans look out for one another?
When I told them that our friends were just ahead, and gave them a description, they took off up the road. Minutes later, our heroes came to the rescue with their tow strap.
And we were back on the road.


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