Stuck in the mud at Alfred Creek

dall sheep ewe

Dall sheep lamb

Friday, June 13, 1980—went to Peter’s cabin and spent the day fishing. Caught whitefish and grayling in the stream there. Peter got a really nice grayling. Then Peter showed me some old, Indian dugout holes where they cached fish, covered it with moss to keep it fresh. The ground here is frozen and it keeps fish from spoiling when they put the tundra over it to insulate it. We had a good time exploring and fishing.

Saturday, June 14, 1980—took Henry, his brother Phillip and Bill Houser in the swamp buggy to Cal Gilcrist’s gold claims on Alfred Creek. While there, we got a few nuggets—got stuck twice. Henry’s always upbeat about things like that and it helps get the buggy out of the mud holes. The trail is wet and slippery. Had a good time, though. On the way back out, I was coming up this stream at Pass Creek and there was a big rock and the swamp buggy wouldn’t climb over that big rock. The water was really deep and Henry’s brother, Phillip was riding in the swamp buggy with me and Bill Hauser was up on top of it. When I couldn’t go any further, Phil, he reached out with a cup and dipped it in the stream that was running by us and got himself a drink of water. Then I had to back a long ways down the stream before I could get out of there and get on the regular trail. When we got back to Nelchina in the evening, we had a party.

Thursday, June 19, 1980—got up early and Dick and Phyllis and Sylvia and I went into Anchorage and did some shopping. I got a gold dredge in the hopes we can do some dredging with it. From the highway, we saw Dall ewes and lambs on Sheep Mountain.

Mud Flying

a truck with big wheels and chains

The Swamp Buggy, also called the Mean Machine

Wednesday, October 3, 1979—took the buggy down to Gunsight Mountain Trail (about 25 miles). Henry went with me. The trail there goes over Ballenger Pass. He had some guys mining back on Alfred Creek and when they were moving equipment out, his Cat broke apart in the rear end. They had to leave it behind.

We are going in to pull his Cat out over the mountain and across a swamp to get it to the highway. Everything went well. Where the sun hadn’t been shining, the trail was frozen and icy, but I had chained up all four tires on the swamp buggy and it pulled this small Cat up the mountain.

When we got down to the swamp, I really put the pedal down on the swamp buggy. Henry was riding the Cat back behind me, steering and trying to keep it in the trail, mud flying. It was quite a ride for him. We got through the swamp and down a steep hill to an old lodge where we had a trailer parked. We planned to load the Cat on it. We had chains and load binders with us. We worked the load binders one after the other, one length of chain at a time. It took us a long time—and was hard work.

Henry and I were really tired by the time we got that Cat loaded and back to his lodge at Nelchina. (The next day, we were stiff and sore.) I did a few odd jobs around here at the lodge.