Thursday, October 28, 2010

How are things related (The Theory of Everything), a Three Para Blog

This will be a very short blog since the details of this subject have not yet been revealed to me. I have read and given thought to the subject "Theory of Everything." Much has been written in both the scientific and philosophical communities. I hope that you will dig into this subject and give me your thoughts. I want to know and understand more about this subject but my mental capability is limited by what God has chosen to unlock in my brain at this point in time.

I have faith and firmly believe in one God, the creator & sustainer of the universe which includes you and me here on planet Earth. It is my belief that 'everything is in fact related' since all came into being as the result of God's creation. Someday I hope to get some first hand information on how this all came about. Until then, my faith will sustain me.

55th Chapter of Isaiah
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Jim Sohn 10-28-2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where do things go on your computer when you delete them?

Where do things go on your computer when you delete them?

When you delete a file on your computer it will likely end up in the recycle bin. So in that case, a bunch of associated bits making up the file have been moved from an application folder to the recycle bin. They are still located somewhere on your computer's hard drive in a recoverable format at this point. I am not going into any details other than to say that computer files (applications) consist of lots of 'bits' linked in special sequences to make up a file. But then I ask myself, what is a 'bit' of information? Now I am going to answer this question by saying that a 'bit' or binary digit is simply a 'single state of being', that is, it represents a 1 or 0 state. If so, how? In a bubble memory chip the state depends on magnetic orientation. In a read only memory chip (ROM) the state might be either an electrical path in the ROM that exists or it doesn't. I sure don't want to get into different types of ROM's, PROMS, RAMS, SRAMS, DRAMS and all sorts of their mutations. Just remember that one 'bit' of information can be stored in any fashion that enables you to determine its state when you want to check it. An empty glass could be a 0 state and a full glass could be a 1 state. Somehow I don't think that would be a very useful way to store information in a desktop computer. The whirling thing we call a 'hard drive' stores most of the information we use on a computer. We come back to the 'state of being' that I talked about earlier. That is, the something that represents a 1 or 0 (it is or it isn't) state. It is really easy to get off track talking about this subject of "Where do things go when you delete them." In a most simplistic manner of speaking, the 'hard drive' stores 'bits' on a spinning magnetic platter. The record head directionally magnetizes the ferromagnetic material on the spinning platter to represent a 'bit' (1 or 0) state. The read head reads the state back by detecting the magnetization at a particular location on the platter. Before going to a new paragraph I hate to do this but I must introduce the term 'Byte' which is just an ordered collection of 'bits'. Let me point out that each 'bit' within a 'byte' still has a binary value of 1 or 0. Think about it. In order to encode a single text character (A, B, C,?,/ and so forth) it takes an ordered collection of 'bits' to do so. So lets call that a 'byte' of information. Please don't ask how many 'bits' there are in a 'byte'. The modern de facto standard is 8 but most current digital processors use larger values and I don't want to talk about that here. Wow, I am glad we got through this part.

Well this is all and good but I go back to my original question of where do things go when you delete them on your computer? Its easier for me to visualize not having something if I know where it went after having been disposed of. For instance if throw a rotten potato in the garbage I have physically moved it from one place to another. When the garbage man picks up the trash it is again moved and I really don't care where it ends up at this point. I just know its not around stinking up the house and that was likely the reason for me putting it in the garbage in the first place. OK, I got off track. Lets say I no longer need a file or program on my computer and I move it to the recycle bin. So far I have only moved the file or program from one place to another and can restore the file from the recycle bin. Now I decide to empty the recycle bin to free up more space on my hard drive. So now, where did that file or program go? Is there some little pipe connected to the computer where the 'bits and bytes' fly out of my computer to places unknown? I have checked and haven't located a pipe. I will try to retrace my actions from when I first loaded the program on my computer. The program may have been downloaded from the Internet or it might have received on a CD or DVD. In the case of a CD or DVD I would have loaded or installed the program via my CD/DVD drive. So maybe what I did was copied the bits and bytes from the CD/DVD somehow to my hard drive. Now I see. Somehow little magnetic directional markers must have been created on my hard drive platter to represent the program material coming from the CD/DVD. So now I am understanding this better. The hard drive platter is made of magnetic material and the write head simply arranged the magnetic platter material to represent the data stream of 'bits' & 'bytes' being sent to it from the source CD/DVD. Wow, now that I kind of understand this I can see that to delete something is not actually throwing something out of my computer but rearranging it on the hard drive platter so it no longer represents the original data stream. So if I generalize, which is usually not a good idea, maybe I could say that things don't really go anywhere, like physically move, when I delete something from my computer. I might further say that the pattern and sequence of 'bits' & 'bytes' that originally represented a file or program has simply been randomized and the sophisticated pointers in the computer that did tell the computer where to look for a file no longer point to where the 'bits' & 'bytes' were once located.

Since I used the term 'pointer' I just want to say that the computer/drive maintains a road map of sorts that always knows where things are located on the hard drive (until a crash.) And if I kept on writing I might say that most of the time the 'bits' & 'bytes' are not randomized as in full security erasing but the pointer is simply reset. In a physical sense, sort of like loosing track of where you put your glasses from the night before.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


If you have something better to do, you should probably get on with it. Better, I wonder what that word means.  If you have listened to the country artist LeAnn  Rimes you might have heard her sing the song  Nothin’ Better to Do.  Oh, the trouble you’ll get into    You got nothin’ better to do, got nothin’ better to do    Yeah!  That song made the top 20 U.S. Billboard Hot Country Song list in December 2007. So maybe sometimes when you got Nothin’ Better to Do its ok to do what you’re doing.  So now that you got through the leadoff of this blog make a decision to continue reading or stop at this point.
For those who fall into the category of a self centered narcissist, know it all, the idea of analyzing the nature of knowledge, or theory of knowledge or meaning of words might be a foreign & unnecessary idea.  For those who already know it all, Epistemology is a waste of time.  For me, who knows little, it’s fascinating.  The standard question that’s asked is “How do we know what we know?”  There is no way that I am going into the details of Epistemology, primarily because I don’t consider myself qualified to discuss propositional knowledge , the aspects of belief and truth in personal knowledge and justification. The ‘knowledgeable’ person will talk about externalism and internalism, empiricism, constructivism, skepticism  & rationalism and who knows what other kinds of isms or ists.  Just to show more knowledge, terms like priori and posteriori knowledge, analytic and synthetic distinction and other equally confusing terms might be used.  Enroll in my daughters Philosophy class if you want to explore  this in greater depth.
Let’s think about sets of words that seem to be antonyms (opposite in meaning .)  For instance if I say ‘beginning’ you might say ‘end.’ There are many words that fit into this way of thinking & I have listed a few in the table below and will use some of them in our discussion.










If you thought you might gain some knowledge from reading this blog you may want  to consider the more important things that you could be doing but if you don’t have Nothin’ Better to Do then hang in there and we will continue until the end of this page.
When one uses the word absolute what do you think? You might associate absolute in conjunction with another word such as absolute zero, absolute monarchy,  absolute freedom, absolute certainty and so forth.  I have listed the word arbitrary as an opposite of absolute, so what are some word combinations? What about arbitrary choice, arbitrary penalty, arbitrary rule, arbitrary decision, arbitrary demand and so forth.   Well did I make an arbitrary choice in listing arbitrary as the opposite of absolute. I bet some of you have already thought that the word relative would have been a better choice and you might be right. I would say that this was a relatively arbitrary choice on my part.
For those who like to think in numbers, if I said that two numbers represented by, A & B are said to be opposite if A+B=0  you would say Yeah, or at least you might say that. Since in you’re mind you might think of the number 1 and the number -1 when added together would equal zero (and any other like positive and negative combination.)  Thinking in numbers,  1 and -1 are opposite and thinking in language I would say that freedom and slavery are opposites.  I gave you an example with a formula to show how 1 & -1 are opposites but now I am asking you to take a leap of wisdom in accepting ‘freedom and slavery‘ as opposites.  Sounds right but how can you prove it. How do you know what you know?
 In algebra you learned that the absolute value of a non-negative number is the number itself & the absolute value of a negative number is the opposite that number (absolute numbers are always positive or zero.)  Not that it will make much difference to us, but we can think of the absolute value of x as the distance from  center zero(0) in either direction on a line & is never negative. The closer something is to zero, the smaller it is. Size is a way to talk about ‘absolute value.’ Now we have learned  that in math an opposite is not the same as the absolute value. "So what???  I am just pointing out that it’s easier sometimes to think in numbers than with language concepts.  Many times we accept language logic just because it sounds right or from personal knowledge or belief.  In the ‘Zero-Day’ blog I made this statement “What I know with absolute certainty is that an ever present God created all and will continue to exist.” Now how can I convince you that I know this with ‘absolute certainty?’ The answer I am afraid is I likely can’t unless you share my same faith. In my mind I know this to be true through faith so does that make it true for all or just me? Must something be true for all for it to be true?  A mathematician would likely answer in the affirmative, that it’s true if you can prove it or false if you can’t.  So if I can’t prove it does it make it false?  I am getting tired talking about this idea of absolute & opposite. At this point I am making an arbitrary decision since I am relatively certain that you and I are getting tired of this subject.
Maybe later we will discuss large & small, finite & infinite, forward & reverse, new & old, general & unique  and other words in the table. For now, So Long & have a Good Day…
Jim Sohn
April 28th 2010 AD

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Have you given much thought to the term ‘Zero-Day?’ Do you have an idea of what I am talking about? If you are into philosophy, computer hacking, orbital science or other avenues of mental activity you probably have some thoughts about this term ‘Zero-Day.’ From here on I am going to refer to ‘Zero-Day’ as Z0.
In a fundamental form I suppose one could think of Z0 as an epoch, starting point or arbitrarily selected point in time. So now that’s clarified. Not really you say? Let’s expand some. I could be so egotistical that I considered my birth date of 21 November 1936 as the new epoch for measuring time. Events before my birth would be termed BJ (before Jim) and after my birth AJ. Or more realistic we consider after the Birth of Christ as the beginning of AD (Anno Domini). It’s interesting that in this scheme there is no year zero, therefore the year AD 1 immediately follows the year 1 BC. I don’t want to get into detail about the BC/AD numbering system but it’s also interesting that this system wasn’t devised until AD 525. Discussion of the ins and outs of this numbering system could be the subject of a blog in itself, but not this one. Another common concept is Julian Day and there is a Julian day 0 (zero.) The astronomy community uses this (JD) time measurement scheme. An interesting tidbit is Julian Day 0 (zero) starts on January 1, 4713 BC Greenwich noon. The Julian Date is the interval of time since Greenwich noon on January 1, 4713 BC. Again, this is one of those things that could be the subject of a blog in itself, but not this one. You might wonder what computer hacking has to do with Z0. A Z0 exploit to a hacker is an attack before the developer knows about the vulnerability. Before I get off this line of thought let me say that an Epoch (reference point) can be chosen for a particular era or instant in time. There are many, such as religious eras, astronomy, satellite orbits, computing, politics, various calendars, and others.
Back to Z0. This time let’s think about creation. Particularly let’s think about the creation of this glorious universe we live in. There are lots of theories about how the universe (everything) was created. Everything includes everything perceived as physical including space (whatever that is), time, matter and energy. If I missed something then please think of that as also included in ‘everything.’ We will get into spiritual later.
Let’s assume that the big bang is the cosmological model for development of the universe. Note that I used the word ‘development’ of the universe vs. creation of the universe. Words such as creation, origin, development, model, etc. might key different thoughts in the minds of different mortals. I don’t know if the big bang is how it happened but sounds reasonable to me. The exact details of how this all came about isn’t what I have on my mind as I write this. Some theorize that it all started when a single particle the size of an atom suddenly expanded exponentially, filling the void of space & as the temperature fell formed the planets, suns, moons, etc. Some say that our universe as we know it now is about 13.7 billion years old. Maybe that’s the way it all happened. It is my sincere hope that someday God will provide me with some insight into this. Regarding ‘Zero-Day’ and God, it’s my opinion that God existed before what we think of as ‘Zero-Day.’ That is, God has always existed; therefore the concept of ‘Zero-Day’ and God has no meaning. There may have been a Z0 event when/if God used the big band to form the universe as we know it. I will continue to ponder the unknowns, theories and what-if’s as long as I am here on earth.
What I know with absolute certainty is that an ever present God created all and will continue to exist. I don’t know but it is my thought that the universe may be homogeneous and may be isotropic. Is it expanding, well maybe? It’s not possible to say with certainty that the universe is uniform in all directions since we have little to go on. My mind always wonders what is on the dark side of the black holes that wander throughout the universe gobbling up stars, comets, suns and galaxies. There are theoretical, astronomical and philosophical models of the universe and many myths. There are theories of multiple universes, a parallel universe, bubble universes separated by time space continua and honest philosophical thought models.
A ‘Zero-Day’ exists in many realms, just not related to God.

James L. Sohn
04-27-2010 AD

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What’s in a Hobby

A hobby can be a pleasant diversion from the norm or it can become a narcissistic energy vampire, a term I copied from my daughter Debbie’s facebook.
Many have a hobby. I have several related hobbies. Since I was a kid I have had an interest in electronics. At the age of 12 I passed my amateur radio license and became what is commonly called a “ham radio operator.” I guess the term ‘ham’ implies a non-professional . I don’t want to get into the current political correctness of this word. I enjoy amateur radio and I am proud to be called a “ham radio operator.” My original call sign was WN5TID. The N indicated that I was a novice and just barely proficient in sending/receiving the Morse code and with a minimum of technical knowledge. The number 5 indicated that I lived in the 5th FCC (Federal Communications Commission) call sign district and TID was my unique indicator. It only took me a short time to get my code speed and technical proficiency up to the requirement for a General class license so the N was dropped and my call became W5TID. Later on I got a little technically smarter and passed the advanced class test which didn’t affect my call but did give me more privileges. When I moved from Arkansas (5 District) to Virginia (4 District), back them one could not transfer their call so I became WA4DGB. Recently I was able to get my original W5TID call back again.
If you are interested in knowing more about ham radio as a hobby you can Google it and find out more. I am not specifically writing about ham radio but in more general terms.
I don’t know why a person like me focused on electronics from an early age. I, for some reason, just like anything electrical or electronic, even after some wall slamming incidents. I say wall slamming since more than once I got hold of wires that I should have avoided. My first incident was with the regular 110 Volt AC power service in my little ham radio shack. I won’t go into detail but I experienced the muscle seize that can occur when AC runs between your arms & chest while completing the circuit between your two hands being where they shouldn’t be. I was literally frozen and shaking, couldn’t voluntarily move a muscle and the only thing that saved me from electrocution was falling out the door and breaking the circuit. I didn’t relate this to too many when it occurred. I have had a number of pretty bad electrical shocks during my life. It is a different feeling to be shocked with AC (alternating current) vs. DC (direct current.) My most memorable DC shock was while working on a Navy transmitter where the DC voltage was 1600 volts with a lot of current capability. This shock threw me across the room, against the bulkhead and temporarily knocked me out. I guess I should also mention that one can get what is called an RF (radio frequency) burn. This occurs when one gets near or touches a source of RF energy coming from a transmitter (radio, TV, radar, etc.) This can cause a deep or surface (depending on the RF level) burn. I have one very small deep burn on one of my fingers. When I was a kid without RF measuring equipment I would gently put a finger near my transmitter RF output to make sure that it was emitting energy (dumb and dumber, that’s me.) The RF from most of my transmitting equipment would only produce a slight surface burn similar to snuffing a birthday candle with your fingers. After enough burns I started using a florescent light near my RF to get an indication of output. What I started to talk about until I got off subject about electrical shocks was why a person would focus on a particular hobby.
Technology continues to advance and I expanded my personal interest in electronics to include the computer. The computer and ham radio works in synergy in that I can use the computer to compute orbital positioning elements and provide steering for the Yagi cross polarized antenna I used to communicate through the ham satellites. I have also used the computer for more advanced communication protocols and also for high speed semi-automated CW. There were other uses that tied the computer to my ham radio equipment. For some reason I became less enthused with ham radio and turned more of my attention to just the computer. That’s more or less the way it is today. I still have and use the ham equipment but sit in front of the computers more frequently than the ham gear. I have six computers surrounding me here at my desk and they are all networked together with wired and wireless printers, scanners and such. I have some outdated computers in the basement that were on my network at one time but are not now. Remember in my first sentence where I used Debbie’s term, narcissistic energy vampire? My computers were becoming my narcissistic energy sucking vampire and a hobby is supposed to be fun. Six computers and 4 printers are enough to keep me entertained but not burdened. I have one Mac laptop with the Snow Leopard operating system, two PC with Vista, and three PC’s with XP. Networking over three operating systems by a person of my low proficiency level of networking can be burdensome but so far not causing me a personality disorder.
Getting back to hobbies in general and why we engage in them. For me it’s simple. I enjoy my hobbies now, when I was young, when I was working and now that I am retired just because I do….So there, no more reason is needed…
I mostly have talked about my like for electronics but I have also always had an interest in photography as a hobby. As a kid through almost adult life my photo equipment was limited but I did enjoy taking pictures and working in my own darkroom. Now that we are in the digital age I can again link my photography hobby with graphical digital processing with the computer and printing. I interface my photos in various ways in the internet. I now manipulate bits on the computer vs. sloshing chemicals.
I have friends who are passionate about golf, outdoor and indoor sports, painting, hunting, fishing and a wide range other hobbies. Many times a hobby can be closely related to a person’s job and other time is totally different. For me I think that my career to some extent followed what I enjoy as a hobby. Others may have a hobby to get relief from being tied to their job. I don’t know. I do feel that actually liking to do something whether its related or unrelated to ones job is a good thing. Now that I am older I also enjoy learning about new things that I had little or no interest in before.
Think Synergism – Your hobbies working together to produce a desired result and that result is keeping a happy face on you.
So, what’s your hobby, what do you enjoy doing, make time for it…….do it…..

Philosophical Time

I do not pretend to understand ‘time’ so that’s the reason I am putting some of my thoughts down on paper. Maybe if I just type as I think, something will come from the thoughts & when I have completed this blog and have ‘time’ to read it I will have a better understanding. Weird thinking I know..It might get better in ‘time’.
I am interested in science but do not consider myself a scientist by any stretch of the imagination. I have always (that’s a lot of ‘time’) been interested in the concept of ‘time’ since it’s something we all have. Each of us has a lifetime of ‘time’ extending from birth until death. This is a subject that I won’t try to address at this ‘time’ since it involves both physical ‘time’ on planet Earth and divine ‘time’ with God. As I type I see the word ‘time’ popping up frequently and the word ‘time’ will popup throughout this blog. Seems like us humans are pretty sensitive to ‘time’. Most say that they don’t have enough ‘time’ to get all the things done that need doing. Some few might say I have ‘time’ on my hands. The government will tell you that its ‘time’ to file your income tax. A Mom or Dad may tell their children to come home at a reasonable ‘time’. You know how it goes, on and on about ‘time’. Now that you get the point I am writing about ‘time’ I am just going to type the word time since it saves me ‘time’ with my keystrokes.
Remember we are still talking about ‘time’ but now I am simply typing time when I feel I can get away with it without causing problem in interpreting my thoughts. Time marches on….so here we go.
I don’t know how useful this will be but here are some canned definitions of time. (an instance or single occasion for some event, a duration, an interval, a period of time considered as a resource under your control and sufficient to accomplish something) and here is a good one, (a nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future)
Now we have gotten past the formal definition phase lets go more into the Philosophical arena of time. If I should say that time is measured from the beginning to the end what would you think? You might say beginning of what to the end of what. You might think of your life in years, the beginning to payoff of a load, start to end of a race, etc. You might wonder if I am talking about time as we relate time here on Earth or in something in more absolute terms. I have no idea of what you would think…Just Think, it can be refreshing.
Earthly time is fairly straightforward in its most simplistic state. Most of us here on planet Earth agree on the general concept of time. We have implemented some highly scientific and precision methods of measuring time for practical day to day use. We have regionalized the earth into world time zones. We have established the concept of Greenwich meantime and all sorts of methodologies so that we can relate time in a reasonably standardized fashion anywhere on our planet. Even with this, Earth time is still a bit squishy with leap seconds & leap days and non-standard time zones offset 30 minutes vs. an hour. Just today, March 2nd 2010 NASA reported that the mega earthquake in Chili may have shortened the Earth day 1.26 microseconds (a microsecond is one millionth of a second.) A cosmologist at MIT suggested that in a few hundred million years the tidal friction may have slowed Earth’s rotation to make the day 25 hours long. So just when you think that Earth time is fairly straightforward these quirks pop up to confuse the situation. A very smart man named Albert once said that time is relative. If you want your head to spin, just read some of Albert’s papers on general and special relativity. Unhinge your mind and let it float in the three dimension space-time curvature and you will be glad you’re here on Mother Earth and only concerned about the minor quirks of Earthly time.
Now for some religion: I personally believe in God the Father, God the Son (Jesus the Christ) and God the Holy Spirit as the supreme architect of the universe. Some folks will say that time began when God created the universe. The Bible says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth….” and I believe that the Holy Bible is the inspired word of God. There are many passages in the Bible I don’t fully comprehend and probably won’t on this side of heaven. There is one verse, however, that I always go back to in Proverbs 3:5 which says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean of your own understanding.” So back to time and let me relate how I personally see creation “in the beginning” in relation to time.

I know, you say how could God exist before time. I put in a qualifier “time as we know it”, meaning it’s my opinion that our human mind simply cannot comprehend time in the sense of creation or “in the beginning.” A simple person like me thinks – oh, created from something that didn’t exist and into a space that didn’t previously exist. If you throw me, a human, into the equation it’s totally unmanageable for my simple mind to comprehend. God made me in his image and breathed life into me. I totally believe this and totally don’t understand the mechanics of how God accomplished this and don’t need to. Those who do not believe in a God creator will pull their hair out trying to figure out “in the beginning” and creation of human life. For me, I know it is God who created the universe and me & you. The same one God exists at this very moment in time as “in the beginning.” I have no additional insight in what or when the end time will be other than what is conveyed in Revelation. Will the end time be the collapse of the entire physical universe (whatever that is), a single or multiple galaxies, a planet or will there be a transition from the physical to eternal? What is eternity? Is it a place? Is eternity boundless and timeless? Is it the place where John wrote of that God would live with His people in a new heaven and a new earth where the old order of things passed away? Would this be in spirit or body as we know the body? We recognize a physical human body when we see one. Think about the spirit.
Let me go way out. Is the past, present and future real in the physical world or only in our mind and does time really exist? If time exists then where does it come from? Does God give it out and would we have a physical existence without it? Is time different in the physical vs. spiritual world, assuming that you believe in life after death? The Bible says in Psalm 31:15 that our times are in God’s hands. Some folks would say that the universe is expanding. Expanding to where and what was there before it started expanding there? Does the beyond exist or must it be created as the universe expands?
I’ll tell you, the more I think about time the more confused I get. I have taken Integral and Differential Calculus, Differential Equations, etc. although at this point in ‘time’ I don’t remember much of what was familiar to me at that ‘time’. I vaguely recall how one would integrate between minus infinity to plus infinity and in differential equations the derivatives of various orders. Infinity is an interesting concept where in mathematics it refers to a quantity without bounds or end. Infinity is certainly not a new concept. This concept has troubled and tantalized mankind since before Christ. Is space and time infinite, that does it mean without bounds or end? Can you actually reach or go beyond infinity or are we thinking in the pure math world when we talk about infinity? Hey, how about this negative infinity? Do things exist only at a certain point in time? What is the single smallest point in time? Can only one thing exist at a single point in time? Can one define where something is located without bringing time into play? Does time have dimensions and is it a thing in itself? Is time only a point in space relative to everything else in space? If one left that point in space could one get back to that point if one believes that the universe in expanding? Who’s on first base?
See why I am confused about time…..I think it’s time for me to stop writing and for you to consult with physicists, philosophers and religious leaders.
Please let me know what the learned folks tell you and help me to understand ‘time’. If they have any transferrable time available please get me some. By the way I read what I wrote and am still clueless.

The one thing I am certain of is time here on Earth is a precious commodity. Each day we must thank God and take full advantage of every second of time God has given us.

This isn't the start of a new blog (but it could be.) Think about what has been and can be accomplished in the division of time we call a 'second'. There are normally 60 x 60 x 24 = 86400 seconds in a solar day. I had better stop here else this will turn out to be a long discussion.

55th Chapter of Isaiah:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than yours and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Jim Sohn

The approximate ‘time’ here on the U.S. East Coast, North American Continent, Planet Earth is: Thirty seven minutes after midnight Eastern Daylight Time in the year of our Lord 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Creation in a Nutshell

My simple view on Creation (totality of all things)

God has existed before time as we know it, continues to exist & will always exist.. I think of God and time as a continuous whole where time cannot be separated.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8)
"But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." 1 Corinthians 8:6

So in a nutshell, Creation is the result of a "Cause & Effect"

The Cause is God, the Effect is Creation.
(The totality of all things & God breathed life into us.)

How God caused this to occur are details for us to ponder. I always go back to Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Travel Log to Alaska in 1993 (Coldfoot, Part 5 - Last) & Heading Home


It has and continues to be a cool day in Coldfoot. Little by little more snow accumulates at the higher elevations around Coldfoot. It would be nice to see a general snow before we leave here (as long as it didn't impede our departure).
Marian, Alice and I had the Center today while Rick and Sandy were out hiking. After this evenings presentation we reached 100.1% of our last years total tourist.
Cheryl sent us a FAX today including a cute comic strip. Tomorrow is mail day again and we will be over to see what we may have received as soon as the doors open. Since we leave next week I hope that no mail comes to us after next Monday. It will probably take weeks to get forwarded and reach us in Virginia.
Tom Edgerton, our USF&W boss, will come to Coldfoot on Monday evening next week to help close out things here. I hope that Coldfoot Services gets this trailer dumped and pulled over to the Center early in the day on the 25th so that we can get underway for Fairbanks. It will take close to 8 hours to drive from Coldfoot to Fairbanks where we plan on spending the night of 25 August.
The following is our tentative homeward bound itinerary:

25 August Coldfoot, AK Fairbanks, AK
26 August Fairbanks Somewhere between Fairbanks & Denali
27 August Spending the night at Savage River Campground in Denali
28 August Second night at Savage River Campground in Denali (tour)
29 August Denali, AK Tok, AK
30 August Tok Whitehorse, BC
31 August Whitehorse Skagway, AK
01 Sept Second night in Skagway (take Summit train excursion)
02 Sept Skagway Liard River,BC
03 Sept Liard River Fort St. John, BC
04 Sept Ft. St. John Tete Jaune Cache
05 Sept Tete Jaune Cache Banff, AL
06 Sept Banff St. Mary, MT (lower 48)
07 Sept Glacier Park, MT Buffalo, WY
08 Sept Buffalo Sioux Falls, SF
09 Sept Sioux Falls St. Louis, MO
10 Sept St. Louis Charleston, WV
11 Sept Charleston HOME

There could be a two day delta on our schedule depending on how much sightseeing we do in the various places. If we do in fact get home on the 11th of September then we can celebrate Marian’s birthday in Virginia (11 Sept.).
We are preparing our midnight snack and it will be ready to eat very soon. The pizza will be good and I had now better stop typing so that we can eat.


One week from today at this time we hope to be in Fairbanks. This was a rather slow day at the Center with only 21 drop in guests and a handfull for the presentation. Marian just returned from taking a load of laundry over to the washing area. There is only two machines so sometime it is easier to get things done in the late evening.
This afternoon Marian & Alice went to Wiseman to deliver a message regarding an USF&W matter. They were there for a few hours visiting with some friends and they bought some hand made ear rings.
Today I mostly played around on the computer in between the guests. We had a couple hour meeting with Sandy to talk about what might be done next year to improve the presentation and Center in general. We had our meeting at the Coldfoot cafe over coffee and cake.
This was mail day and we received two letters from Cheryl. Our FAX machine ran out of paper today so we will not be able to receive any more Fax's until we can get some more paper from Fairbanks. The only Fax's of interest to us are the ones that are from our daughters.
We had a beautiful day today with sunshine and cool temperature. The sky is beginning to cloud over now so likely before morning we will have more rain. We are over 12 inches of rain since April.
Coldfoot Services was suppose to be over mid week to dump our trailer so I must assume that mid week means after Wednesday since they haven’t done it yet.
Marian just informed me that I was elected to go over to Coldfoot Services and put the washing in the dryer.


At about 1800 Marian, Alice, Rick & I had dinner together here at the trailer. It was a pot luck type dinner and all very good. We had a nice group in for the presentation this evening. This was a tour bus full of folks from PA.
Our schedule has changed a little in that Tom will be here on Sunday night and we will prep the trailer for winter on Monday then move the trailer over to the Center parking lot on Tuesday morning. Marian & I will probably stay in Arctic Acres Inn Tuesday night. We can’t stay in the trailer parked at the Center since there will be no power, propane, & we could not use the toilet. This doesn’t affect our departure date other than we will probably get off earlier Wednesday than if we had waited for Coldfoot Services to pull it over. I think that there will be a going away party for us and Alice on Tuesday night. I’ll talk more about when we know more details.


This was a pretty slow day for us including the evening guests. There were 47 tourists on the two busses in this evening however only 21 showed up at the Center. This afternoon I instructed Judy (our next door neighbor) on use of the Mac and the Visitor Center computer programs. Judy will step in to help out at the Center when we leave next week. She is the wife of the man who is the manager of the NPS construction work at the Marion Creek campgrounds.
We received a letter from Cheryl and John Tredwell today and talked with Debbie and Cheryl on the telephone.
This evening we fixed bacon, tomato & cheese sandwiches for our after supper snack. It is just after midnight now so we are giving some thought about going to bed.


We thought that yesterday was a slow day however today was even slower. There were no tour busses in and no one else showed up for the presentation. So we didn’t give one.
It has been a rainy day with mud everywhere around Coldfoot. I hope that it clears up since the mountains would radiate beauty with the fall colors. We can see the change progressing each day (between rain drops).
Tonight we loaded the truck with some more of the cloths and food that we don’t anticipate needing between now and Wednesday morning. Tomorrow Tom Edgerton (USF&W) will arrive from Fairbanks. Monday we will prep the trailer for the long hard winter. We will put a coating on the roof and other things to help it survive the -60F temperature this winter.
We are now going to have the going away party on Monday night. I think that it will be over at the Coldfoot bar if we have rainy weather or at Judy’s trailer if the weather is nice. Tom Edgerton must leave Tuesday afternoon and he wants to attend the party.
Debbie & Cheryl called today and we wished Ryan a happy birthday! They were all at Debbie’s house in Fredericksburg. It was great talking to them all. Kyle told us that he was expecting two large pieces of gold when we return.
We had pizza for our midnight snack and have two more large pizza’s left. So guess what we will have tomorrow night.


Tom E. arrived today and will be over bright and early tomorrow morning to work on the trailer. Bright and early means after ten AM. We will try to get all repairs and enhancements completed tomorrow so that we can move it to it’s final resting place on Tuesday. We now plan on departing Coldfoot on Tuesday after moving the trailer to the Center parking lot. Marian & I will spend Tuesday night in Fairbanks and around town most of the day Wednesday. Later in the day Wednesday we will head down the road towards Denali and stop over for the night before reaching the park at a small hotel near Healy, AK. We made reservations at this little hotel today.
We just about have the truck packed except for those things we need for the next couple of days. I hope that we have things in the right position within the truck else we will have to do a lot of digging to get to anything at the other end of the truck bed.
After the presentation tonight we went over to the Coldfoot bar for a while then back to the trailer where we are fixing a pizza for our midnight snack. We have one more pizza left so we will have Tom E. over for lunch tomorrow to help us eat it.
It has been raining all day and the mud keeps getting deeper. I sure hope that tomorrow is better since we need to do outside work on the trailer. Tomorrow night we will have the little get together for a going away party.


Well guess what! This is our last day in Coldfoot, Alaska. They had a very nice going away party for us and we also celebrated Judy’s birthday. Judy prepared many very nice party snacks (snacks is a bit of an understatement). The party was at one of the Coldfoot Bar. Evan the bartender gave us a drink and others bought rounds. They gave us two bags of goodies for the road which included the Carmellos which is the candy we like so. We also have some nuts and many other things which we will enjoy on our return journey. Needless to say we had a very nice time.
After the party we went back over to Center for our last evening. There was a big crowd in tonight even though it was rainy and mud up to your ankles. We took our showers tonight and did the last few items of laundry. Also we are leaving the trailer better than we found it when we arrived. Tomorrow morning we will get up at 0630, have some corn flakes, then make the final preps for moving it (disconnecting the water, gas, electricity). After we dump it we will then pull it to the Visitor Center parking lot where it will spend the winter months.
Debbie called this evening however we were out when the call came in so she left a message on the answering machine. TODAY IS RYAN’S BIRTHDAY, and they were calling so Ryan could say hello. We sure are sorry that we missed the call but we did hear then on the recording. It was too late (DC time) to return the call when we got back over to the Center.
Tomorrow night we will be in Fairbanks. I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to tell you where we will stay however I am pretty sure that we will be in a motel vs. camping.
By the way it’s still raining in Coldfoot and it’s after midnight now.

08/24/93 (From Coldfoot, Alaska to Fairbanks)

Well today is the day. We departed Coldfoot this morning at 0900 after getting up at 0600. All went well in the final trailer preps and moving the trailer over to the Center. The Dalton was bumpy and wet most of the way to Fairbanks however we made very good time. We stopped at the Yukon River Crossing for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat otherwise we were “Straight Ahead Charlie” on the trip to Fairbanks. We arrived in Fairbanks at about 1400 and went straight to a car wash to clean the multiple layers of mud off our truck. It took two times through the wash to get it semi clean. Next we started hunting for a place to spend the night. We had previously made reservations at a hotel but since it was sunny in Fairbanks we decided to look for a camping spot. When we were in Fairbanks a couple of months back we had noticed a nice campground on the Chena River so we decided to look for it again and see if we could get camping accommodations. Well we found it again and it is a very beautiful spot. Our site is within 20 feet of the Chena river bank and we have some very nice next door camping neighbors. The name of our campground is “River’s Edge”. An appropriate name for the campground. After we got our tent set up we had a snack then headed into town to look around. Since we have been in Coldfoot for the past three months any town larger than 30 persons really impress us. We went by and picked up a few gifts and a few food items.
We are back at the campgrounds now and have had a nice supper. The neighbors are over at our site now and Marian is entertaining them. It has been a beautiful day here in Fairbanks and now that the sun is setting it is getting a little cool. I think that I’ll stop typing now and warm my fingers up over the stove. Our plans are to leave the campgrounds sometime mid morning and look around Fairbanks a little more then head towards Denali. Our current plans are to stay at the Totem Lodge in Healy tomorrow night however if we find a nice campground we may change our plans
It is nice to be in civilization again!.


It was pretty chilly after the sun went down however we kept as warm as a bug in a rug in the tent in our sleeping bags. We got underway this morning at about 10 AM and headed south on the George Parks Highway towards Denali. Our first stop was in the little town of Nenana where we bought some tourist trinkets.
We went through the little town of Healy where we had reservations at the Totem directly to the Denali Park Visitor Center. We changed our Denali tour reservations for tomorrow morning (0600, early, but all that was available). We also were able to switch one night of our camping reservations. It was not possible to get camping reservations for tonight however we do have confirmed camping in Denali tomorrow night. Before leaving Coldfoot we made the reservations at the Totem in Healy as a backstop in case it was raining here. Well it is not raining but we are glad that we have a place to stay tonight.
After getting all of the accommodations settled we went to the slide presentation at the Visitor Center and drove around the Denali National Park. You are only permitted to drive your POV just past the Savage River Campgrounds. Tomorrow on our 11 hour bus tour of Denali we will go all the way to Wonder Lake which is near the end of the road in Denali. We are looking forward to the tour. The bus is a regular school bus so our rear ends will probably be bumped out by the time we return tomorrow evening. Even a bumpy campground will probably feel soft to us for a nights rest.
Denali is beautiful. The Alaska mountain range is completely snow capped and we could see Mt. McKinley poking up through the clouds. I hope that tomorrow's weather is as nice as it has been today.
Marian & I are all settled in at our ATCO accommodations here in Healy, AK which is about 10 miles from Denali. Tomorrow morning we will have to get up at about 0500 in order to get a bite to eat and drive up to Denali to meet our bus.


After an 11 hour bus ride we are now at our campsite here in Denali National Park. Denali was beautiful and we had a clear view of Mt.McKinley. We went on the bus to Wonder Lake which is about 85 miles within the park. The scenery was just great. Our rumps were a bit sore of riding in the rough “school bus” all day however. We were glad when the trip ended even though we enjoyed it very much. The road was gravel and one way most of the way through the park. When we met another bus we would have to pull off in a wide spot to let the other pass. As I think I had mentioned earlier, no private vehicles are allowed past Savage River where the pavement ends.
It is pretty cool now here in the campground. We may go to bed early and let the sleeping bags keep us warm. We did buy a propane heater yesterday so it will feel good warming up the tent before we go to bed. For dinner we had bean soup then some rice-a-rony and for desert hickory smoked beef jerkeys.
Since we are still in bear country we have to be pretty clean campers else we may have an uninvited guests during the night. It is a $150 fine to leave any food stuff out at the end of a day. It is only seven now and we will probably hit the bags by nice. I must fire up the heater now and warm up my fingers.


At the moment I am sitting in our tent in TOK, AK. It is beginning to get dark so I may not expound too much on todays activities. We got underway this morning at about ten AM after having some breakfast and letting the dew dry from our tent and ground cloth. Our journey today took us over the gravel Denali Highway (a little better than the Dalton), the Richardson, Glenn Allen and ALCAN highways. It was about 1700 when we arrived in TOK so we decided to stay for the night since the next place would be Beaver Creek in the Yukon which is about 120 miles further. Our original plans were to stay in TOK anyway. On our trip up we remembered the Northstar where with a fill-up of gas they would let you wash your car free with their pressure washer. Well that's where we went and did just that. In addition they said that we could tent in the woods behind the station free and they gave us a cup of coffee. Well we thought we had something going so we went in and had their Salmon dinner which was also very good. Then Marian won the evening drawing which entitled her to pick out the “T” shirt of her choice in the gift shop. She found a nice $19.00 shirt.
Oh yes we did take showers tonight. We had to pay $5.00 for two showers which included towels. We should be in pretty good shape for tomorrow with a full tank of gas, a clean truck and “we are clean too”. Our destination tomorrow is Whitehorse which is almost 500 miles from here. That means a full day’s drive under ALCAN road conditions which can vary. They can vary from a nice smooth surface for a short distance to up’s & down’s over the frost heaves, then over gravel and worse surfaces. Five hundred miles isn’t too much distance on an Interstate but on this section of the ALCAN it’s quite a journey.
Well I will close for tonight. Marian is almost asleep and I am having to look hard at the screen to type. At last we are getting nighttime!


It is 2100 and we are at the Takhina Hot Springs campgrounds which is 17 miles from Whitehorse, YK on the Klondike Highway toward Dawson. We looked around Whitehorse for a couple of hours and after checking our a couple of campgrounds decided to head down the Klondike to the Takhina Hot Springs campgrounds. It is a nice woodsy place. We have a campfire going and our tent is up so all is set up for the evening.
The trip down the ALCAN was rough for the first 100 miles after leaving TOK. The road got better as we got further south. The last 100 miles was very good and we made good time. The ALCAN road conditions can vary from very poor to very good.
Tomorrow we will head down to Skagway for the night and take our tour on the narrow gauge rail on Monday. Since we are ahead of schedule we will have to change the reservations we have. I hope that we can change them for the 30th. After arriving in Skagway tomorrow we will just look around town and wait until the next day for the train ride.
The weather today has been just great with temperatures in the mid to high 60’s. It is getting a little cool now that the sun has set. We bought a little propane heater which we use to heat up the tent before going to bed and in the morning when we get up.
Well good night from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory!


We got up this morning at about 8AM, had breakfast and broke camp. Our next stop was at the Klondike paddle wheeler in downtown Whitehorse. The tour of the boat was very interesting. One of the persons on the tour was a man who worked as a Steward on this boat in the 40’s so it was particularly interesting to hear first hand from him about his adventures on this riverboat.
I am sitting here at our campsite in Skagway by the light of a Coleman lantern and campfire. The trip to Skagway on the Klondike highway was enjoyable with several stops along the way including the small town of Carcross, YK. The road conditions were good all the way and the scenery was beautiful and different from what we had previously seen. We checked into the campgrounds here at about 1700, had a bite to eat then went to downtown Skagway for some sightseeing. Even though today was Sunday most all of the stores were open. There is a wolf dog next door to us here at the campgrounds that is howling continusouly and I sure hope that he stops before we go to bed.
Marian & I visited the Red Onion Saloon downtown Skagway and of course many gift shops and other points of interest. Tomorrow morning at 0830 we will board the narrow gauge White Pass rail car. This journey will take us to the summit where many gold miners at the turn of the century crossed in search of gold here in the Yukon.
I must stop now since it is completely dark and I still have to take a shower. We didn’t have a shower facility at our campground last night so I want to take advantage of it tonight. It is very windy here and it is getting cool. We will sleep with our cloths on tonight and hopefully keep warm. Till tomorrow....


We woke up very early this morning so we got up. We had our breakfast and the truck loaded by 0730. Since there wasn’t anything else to do we drove into town (about 4 blocks from our campsite) and filled up with gas and looked around until the little ole steam engine blew its whistle for us to board. The trip up to the White Pass Summit was very nice. When we reached the summit there was a pretty heavy fog but the trip up was fairly clear. It was a four hour round trip to the summit and return to the Skagway Depot.
After our return to Skagway we again looked around town and had a bite to eat. It was about 1300 when we departed back down the Klondike Highway. Just past Carcross we took the Tagish Road which is a shortcut to get back on the ALCAN at Jake’s Corner. The ALCAN was very rough for a distance then improved, then rough, then good, etc. Our journey took us through Teslin then on to Watson Lake, YK which was about a 300 mile drive from Skagway. Prior to getting into Watson Lake we stopped and gave Debbie a call to see how things were going on the home front.
We had planned on camping here at Watson Lake tonight however it is raining and we decided that a motel would work out better. We feel like kings sitting here on a real bed and watching television. What is this modern world coming to? At this point we are running three days ahead of our original plans. Our original schedule would have had us in Whitehorse today. We left Coldfoot earlier than originally planned and trimmed a night in Denali and Skagway. At this point I am not going to project where we will be tomorrow night. We have no definite schedule to meet to we will just get to where we get. By the way, we will have covered the entire ALCAN (except for a 50 mile shortcut) by the time we reach Dawson Creek, BC This is between our trip up in May and this return trip.


Well we didn’t get underway today until about ten AM. After checking out of the Gateway Motor Inn we went down the street to look at the wall of States/Countries. This is said to be one of the largest collection of stolen signs anywhere. The tradition of putting up a sign with your State, City, or whatever started in about 1942. You can imagine how many are there now!
As we drove down the ALCAN we passed a trailer from Minnesota and gave them a shout on the CB. It turned out that Bill & Jan Michael (drivers of the Minnesota car/trailer) were friends with a person who we knew in Coldfoot. Actually this person, Jon Peterson, was an NPS ranger who worked out of Anaktuvuk Pass and frequently came to the Coldfoot Center. Bill & Jan taught school there in Anaktuvuk.
We saw Stone Sheep (looked like Mountain Goats), Moose and other wildlife as we proceeded down the ALCAN. As the day before the ALCAN conditions varied from very poor to very good.
There was rain and drizzle all day long except for a brief period of sun. Our hopes were to stop at a campground and tent for the night but with the rain we decided to check into a hotel. With that in mind we drove longer than we would have had we camped. Our travel distance today was over 500 miles and we ended up in St. John, BC. Tomorrow we will drive to Dawson Creek and look around some before heading further south.
It is very nice to have a real bed again and a TV. We might just get use to this easy way of life. Also we can take a shower as long as we like without plugging in quarters like in the campgrounds. That is if the campground had a shower.

(From this point forward the log entries are made by Marian)

At about 0900 we departed Ft. St. John on our way to Dawson Creek which was our lest leg on the ALCAN. In Dawson Creek we decided to get sheared so we located a barber and beauty shop. I don’t know if we look any better but we feel better having our hair cut.
At Dawson Creek we got on the Yellowhead Highway. Then about 6:30 we stopped in McBride (pop 582) for the night at Beaverview campground, which came with hot showers and a laundry, which was needed


Today started with a cup of coffee and granola bars, then going the laundry before taking off down the Yellowhead Hwy toward Jasper, Alberta. We arrived in Jasper about noon, then after filling the gas tank we headed south on 93 thru the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which included Jasper Nat’l Park and Banff Nat’l Park.
What a beautiful drive thru the Glacier fields of Athabasca and Columbia Ice fields driving at elevations of over 6,000 ft. Then turning east on 1A toward Calgary and as usual driving thru town during rush hour looking for Rt. 2.
Rush hour through Calgary isn’t like DC. Then after a few more hours of driving we arrived in St Mary, MT to stay the night at St Mary Lodge and Resort. The Resort is located at the entrance of Glacier Nat’l Park.
To date we have traveled 3328 miles, since leaving Coldfoot, AK.


On the road again after eating a nice cowboy breakfast here at the Lodge. Our breakfast consisted of biscuits, eggs and buffalo sausage (which is very good and low in fat). The Lodge and other shops are in a nice location at the East Entrance of the Going To The Sun Hwy.
As we start the drive through the park we notice there are few RV Campers. Since the highway was built in the 30s, it isn’t wide enough for RVs wider than 8 ft (including side mirrors) by 24 ft long. If we should ever return to Glacier Nat’l Park in a RV (longer than 24 ft), we’ll have to park and tour in their local bus.
Glacier Nat’l Park has only one glacier with a path leading to it where a Ranger is stationed. There may be more glaciers in the park, but are not as noticeable as in Jasper and Banff Nat’l Parks.
We stopped to have a nice picnic lunch in a camp ground at the West Entrance of the park. While having lunch we met a couple from Arkansas, whom were traveling through the western states.
Back on the road again after traveling a circle around the park, leaving on Rt. 2 and stopping for the night in Helena, MT (at Super 8).


Nothing much has happened over these last few day, since we’re trying to drive at least 400 to 500 miles a day. At the end of each day we check into a motel along the way, which on Sep 4th proved to offer only one shower. In Murdo, SD about 8:30 PM found most motels full, so we checked in with the Anderson's who had cabins. The cabin had two bedrooms (double beds in each) with a bath between. Jim taking his shower first proved that the shower drain wasn’t draining fast, with this problem I just washed like the people do in the wilderness of AK.
The morning of Sep 5th found the drain empty, but asking for a little rebate, proved frugal with Mrs Anderson. She said we got it cheap enough $27,50 for the night. We do believe she knew the drain wasn’t working, but the bed was great.
Super 8 motels are great since they offer a VIP membership discount or if you don't have that a Senior Discount will be the same. So on Sept. 05 found us in Boonville, MO for the night.
As we drive across the mid states we could see where the Missouri River did its damage this summer. While eating lunch along I29 we met a couple who lost their farm. The wife said they had no flood insurance, but at least saved most items. What spirit these people have! Even now the creeks and rivers are still high.


Tonight is our last night on the road and sleeping in motels. As we’ve traveled this last week the weather was not for camping. So after calling our daughters and checking into Super 8 in Moorehead, KY we’re looking forward to HOME TOMORROW. This ends the travel log for our Volunteer work in Alaska in 1993.


We did return to Alaska after a couple of years and this time as a tourist in South Alaska and Kodiak Island.

Travel Log to Alaska in 1993 (Coldfoot, Part 4)


There are no outstanding events to tell you about today. Tom E. came over to our trailer for an hour or so this morning for a chat before leaving for Fairbanks. There were a few drop in guests today including a couple from Bonn Germany. This evening the Greyline bus tour group was in town and came to the presentation. There were 5 tourists from the northern Virginia/D.C. area.
Tom brought us a sling to put on the rifle which will make it easier to carry when we take it with us on hiking trips. This required drilling a hole in the stock which I did very carefully.
Marian & I have been pigging out with our food replenishment. One of our favorite candy snacks is Caramello bars. We will have the bag emptied soon by the way we are eating them.


A beautiful day in Coldfoot! Mild temperature and sunny skies were the order of the day. Our daily drop in visitors has dropped off for the past few days however the ones that have been have been interesting to talk with. On couple we talked with today were from Russia then there were a couple of young fellows from Germany. This evening there were 20 in for the presentation. All on the small tourbus were men except for one lady.
We had a nice surprise today when the phone rang and it was Cheryl. It was great talking with her.
We had a nice evening picnic over at Sandy’s house (our evening dinner break). Marian took over a big pot of baked beans and Sandy had barbecued fish. One of the other persons that came over brought a nice birthday cake (Sandy’s birthday was July 4th).


The mosquitoes were not too bad today with the cool weather. Maybe the clouds and rain have gone away for a while. Our tourist trade was very slow with only a hand full of drop in’s during the day and about 20 for the evening presentation. We had the center to ourselves again today. The BLM and NPS folks will be back on duty tomorrow.
We may have a solution to our prior inconsistent “dump” schedule. Instead of us setting a time we now have an arrangement for Coldfoot Services to come over to the Center and let us know when they can be over. It seems that they can meet estimated times under this arrangement. At least it worked today. I couldn’t believe it when they showed up within 5 minutes of when they said they would be here.


This morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny day with a temperature in the low 70’s. It looks like we are going to have a great summer day in the Arctic. At the Center we sometimes ask if the weather here is what they had expected of the Arctic. For instance last night it was hot in the presentation room and we had two fans going and the back door open. I think that most who are experiencing the Arctic for the first time have visions of a year around snow covered area. Where in fact the snow completely melts during the summer months except for the far north at the Arctic Ocean. We have summer temperatures in the 80’s on some days and there is only an occasional patch of snow at the very highest elevation (actually Ice covered snow). The small time slice of summer in the Arctic is totally different than the other 8 to 9 months of the year where there is sub-zero temperature and almost total snow cover. The snow cover becomes deep at times since once the snow starts it never melts. We actually don’t get too many inches of snow except for specific geographical areas. Such as last year in Coldfoot where there was 10 feet of snow. This was abnormal. It is interesting however that temperatures can take a sudden dip even in the summer months and snow can occur during any month of the year, yes even in July. We typically get our first snowfall in September so most likely we will have departed the area before the first snow. The time between fall and winter can be days or at the most a few weeks. During this transition period the tundra will turn many colors and the trees on the South Slope of the Brooks Range will follow suite. The next thing you know all will be brown and then snow covered. I may have mentioned it previously but there are NO trees at all once you pass over Atigun Pass to the North Slope of the Brooks Range.
The evening was enjoyable with our Greyline guests. There is always such a variety of individuals that it makes it interesting to talk with each. We are now back in our trailer and Marian is preparing our second dinner for the evening. It is a little after 11pm. I know that when we get back to Virginia we will have to learn to readjust our time schedule. Now we go to bed sometime after midnight to early morning and get up at about 9:30 or 10:00. It’s a hard life. Ha .


This morning we dressed out in our grebes for a day of labor at the Center. Marian & I painted over half of the Visitor Center today and will finish up tomorrow. Our bones are tired tonight from the exercise. We put a coat of clear rawhide on the wooden structure. It was painted when they put it up some five years ago and hadn’t had a brush or roller to it since. With the severe winters it was in bad need of the coating. Tomorrow is our last day of work on this ten day shift. We will be off for the next four days after tomorrow. Marian & I will take our gold pans and try our luck at finding our fortune here in Alaska. Don’t hold your breath.
The work brought about a big appetite so we have had two suppers so far tonight. The first one was at about 6 PM and our second one at ten thirty after we had a Corona.
I have really been enjoying the Peanuts that Cheryl sent in her care package and also the candy & toast pops. We have listened to Stefan on the tape recording and he is now saying new words like MINE. Cheryl also included a top 40 tape which was recorded in Germany about 20 years ago.
Marian is packing up a box of things to send to Debbie, Cheryl & Fred. It should get out on the Wednesday mail run.
I will have to drag my AM radio out of the truck and see if we can pick up any stations now that officially we are getting sunrises/sunsets. Maybe the ionosphere will be more cooperative at bouncing signals.
This is one of our hottest evenings since we have been here. We drug out the fan and have it going and it feels good. As the evening progresses it will turn cooler but now it is HOT in the Arctic. The temperature in the Center this evening was in the mid 80’s. For you folks in the DC area this probably doesn’t sound too hot for mid July.


The Coldfoot Visitor Center now has a fresh coat of paint and probably will be the last one it receives for several years. It sure looks nice (we would say that since we did it). We had calls from both Debbie & Cheryl today and as always it was very nice to hear their voices and talk. Today Marian went for an extended ride in a Super Cub airplane through the courtesy of the National Park Service. If things go as planned I will take a ride tomorrow morning.
We received a couple of letters from Cheryl today and some RV information that Cheryl had ask the dealer to send to us. Mail day is one of the highlight days of the week for us.
Clayton, one of the BLM fellows, dropped by a few more tapes for me to dub. My only problem is that I didn’t bring any blanks so I just re-record over some of the old tapes that we have just about memorized (hate to do it but no other choice to get new music). He loaned us his two cassette machine which has fast dubbing capability..
Marian & I went over to the Coldfoot Cafe and had some pie and ice cream. Boy was it good. They cut the pie into quarters so you can pig out on a single piece of pie.
We are off for the next four days. So after my airplane ride tomorrow maybe we will go gold prospecting. Marian is still hoping to stump her toe on a 16 ounce nugget. A piece of info: There are 20 pennyweight to a Troy Ounce. You normally express gold in pennyweights unless you are rich then you can talk ounces. Gold nuggets go anywhere from 25 to 65 dollars a pennyweight depending on who you buy it from and under what circumstances. In the bar when a miner needs a drink you can get a gold nugget for 20 dollars a pennyweight otherwise it will be about 50 to 65 dollars a pennyweight. Certain nuggets have more Dollar value per pennyweight than processed gold (nuggets have character you see).


The NPS pilot was here at ten this morning and up we went into the skies over Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. What a great trip! We cruised for close to three hours between mountains and skimmed the tops of the peaks where Dall Sheep were enjoying the Mineral Licks. Needless to say Marian & I very much appreciate the NPS for doing this for us. The little Super Cub is a perfect match for this type of flying. It is a small single engine highly maneuverable aircraft which only accommodates the pilot and one passenger. The NPS had this craft chucked full of fancy electronic equipment including of course a Satellite Global Positioning navigation system.
This afternoon Marian and I hopped into the truck and headed up the Dalton for Gold Creek. We panned for Gold for about three hours. Rather Marian panned for gold about 3 hours. I didn’t feel lucky so I just sat in a lawn chair along the creek bank and watched prospector Marian. Well we didn’t strike the mother load. Sorry folks you don’t have rich friend yet. Tomorrow we will try another creek.
What a hot day. The temperature has been in the mid to high 80’s since noon and it is near ten PM now. The good part about this weather is it will cool off nicely at night and a blanket will feel good. I probably won’t get any sympathy from you DC folks on the temperature since we hear it has been in the high 90’s back there.
A couple of days ago I mentioned that since we are now officially getting sunrise/sunset there might be a possibility of receiving something on the AM radio band (just over an hour difference between set & rise). Well last night I gave it a try and sure enough there are a few stations fading in and out however all of them came from Russia. We are just over the North Pole from Russia (or whatever you call Russia now). I was surprised that I couldn’t pick up any Canadian stations and was very hopeful to hear a voice from the lower 48. Well the recorder will have to do for now.


I bet you thought we struck it rich today when the fact is we didn’t get around to doing any gold panning today. First we didn’t get up too early then since it was mail day we waited around until 1 PM so that we could see what was in the mail. Jane Bixby and Cheryl sent so much good reading material that we decided to stay around the trailer and read. Also there was some problems with a hotel charge in Fairbanks which Marian had to clear up. For some reason the Westmark in Fairbanks put a $200 dollar charge on our Master Card which was inappropriate. I say inappropriate since we were charged for a room there on the 29th of June and we were in Coldfoot. While at the Center Marian fixed some chili for Rick & Sandy and I played around on the Computer. There are always new people coming into the trailer park and we usually chat with them. The lady next trailer down showed us some photos that she had taken with a special panorama camera. It takes very wide angle pictures which are printed on 10 (wide) by 2 1/2 inch paper. The little camera only costs $20.00 so we ordered one. It will be nice to take these wide angle shots as we go through Denali Park and other scenic places.
While at the Visitor Center tonight we talked with Dave the miner and his helper Mike. Dave is the fellow that Marian bought her nugget from in the bar. Dave is a slow talking care free fellow. After talking we found that he is a college graduate, an x-military black hawk helicopter pilot, and discharged from the special forces as a major after two service tours in Viet Nam. Who would have thought that from talking with him at the bar although he fits the pattern of what one might think of a special forces person.
We got word that our food replenishment should be coming in today with Clayton who is coming up from Fairbanks. Well its 11pm now and no Clayton. Guess he is running late or maybe got hungry on the trip up.
PS --- Shortly after midnight Clayton arrived with the groceries. We now have a lot of new good things to eat including some sweets. We invited Clayton in and Marian fixed him a sandwich and a big glass of orange juice. Clayton is a very nice young man. He is working as a seasonal employee during the summer to earn money for College where he is an honor student.


This morning we walked up Slate creek for about 4 miles. We had on our knee boots so that we could cross the creek in a shallow part. Good idea in principle but the water was over the boots so we walked with wet feet after crossing the creek. Previously we had driven to the creek crossing but decided not to risk it in the truck.
The NPS was nice enough to loan us their 4 X 4 van this afternoon and we drove down to the Wiseman turnoff and headed up the 4x4 (more or less) road which parallels the Hammond River. It was a beautiful & rough drive and we passed a number of fairly large gold mining operations. We knew that the mining operations were there from our prior days flight over the area.
We have a nice change planned for our next four day off period the end of this month. Marian & I will go up to Dave’s claim for a couple nights & days and do some gold mining. Dave is the miner I wrote about yesterday. His claim is up the Dalton a few miles then over the Koyukuk River and up a steep mountain past two rock slides. It will take three hours or more to reach his claim by truck and hiking. As it stands now we will go up after work on the 28th and come back to Coldfoot on the evening of the 30th. Maybe Marian will find her nugget! Dave has been pulling some pretty nice nuggets out of his claim.


Lets see what did we do today. Well one exciting happening was dumping the trailer. Since they are not on a definite time schedule they get it done sometime during the day and meet that time schedule very well.
Early evening we went out to dinner with our neighbors Jack & Judy. Out to dinner means we went over to the Coldfoot Services cafe (truck stop). There were 3 tour busses in this evening and Coldfoot Services puts on a pretty nice dinner spread for the tourists. We are stuffed with the good food. Afterwards Jack & Judy came over to our trailer for a few hours.
It is now 11pm and we are just sitting around writing & reading. Tomorrow is a work day for us after our 4 day off period. Marian & I will probably paint the Department of Interior sign in front of the Center. Other than that the day will be a normal “greet the tourist and are how you enjoying your vacation” day.


Our first day at the Center & the first effort this afternoon was to paint the signs in front of the Center. There were a number of drop in guests during the day and two bus tours in this evening.
The forest fires burning south of here are causing a general haze over the area. Earlier in the month we had rain most every day and now we have no rain and things are getting dry.
Today we talked with both Cheryl & Debbie on the telephone. Debbie told us that the insurance agency she is with in Fredericksburg is being sold so she is looking for a new job.
It was very nice to get a letter from John Tredwell today. News from back home is always welcomed!
The last two nights (well at least the hours you normally call nights) I have been able to pick up faint sounds of two broadcast stations on the AM band. One is coming from Fairbanks and I am not sure where the other originates (at least it is English not Russian). Maybe as the summer progresses we will start getting something on the AM band (at least I hope so). Sitting around with my ear close to the speaker and trying to make out a few words reminds me of the old movies where you see the folks with their ear glued to the big RCA golden throat radio horn. If one was looking for a good area to run tests that is free of electromagnetic radiation then Coldfoot is the place to do the research. F/Y/I Coldfoot is at 67 degrees 16 minutes North Latitude by 150 degrees 14 minutes West Longitude and an elevation of 1100 feet.


There were several BLM visitors in today including the Deputy Regional Chief from Fairbanks. Tomorrow some super chief from the NPS office in Washington will visit the Center. I guess that it is vacation time for the Chiefs and they are making inspection tours of the Arctic.
Not much out of the ordinary happened today. Mostly a “how are you” day with the tourists. After our work day we went over to the Cafe and had a big piece of cherry pie (remember the quarter pie size).
Sandy will be heading to Fairbanks tomorrow and on Thursday Rick will be off on a trip for the NPS. Marian & I will have the Center to ourselves until Monday or Tuesday next week.
Yesterday one of the ALESKA security officers was found shot along the Dalton Highway. We haven’t heard any details about the death other that it was likely a murder.


There must be some big fires burning in the Arctic. The air smells of smoke and there is a heavy haze where the distant mountains are hardly visible. The temperature is very pleasant and in the lower 70’s. What do you think about Washington fans?
We had a good mail day today with several letters and other things including an update to one of my computer programs. I think that I had mentioned earlier that the program I most frequently use had a bug and I wrote the company about it. Well they fixed the problem and forwarded a new version update. I guess that they let the customers do the debugging for them by comments & complaints.
Included in todays mail was some more information about RV’s which Cheryl had sent. Also we heard from Fred’s parents and got some good tips on RV purchases. It sounds like purchasing an RV will be like purchasing a home & car compounded into one.
There were no tour bus visitors tonight so we closed down early. Oh yes, I have now set up a database to keep track of our Coldfoot Library. We have a very limited library so most of the work involved setting up the database vs. inputting data.


A slow day but a busy evening at the Coldfoot Visitors Center. We had 3 busses in tonight and a very good attendance. Other than our “normal duties” we didn’t do much else of interest today. It is now near 11pm and Marian just took over a load of laundry to wash. There are a number of construction folks in town now and the machines are busy all of the time. We don’t really have any appointments nor do we have TV to occupy our time so when we do something doesn’t really make much difference. We did have a nice supper with our next door neighbors this evening. Now we are having our second supper after work. We both will have to get back on a normal diet and meal schedule when we return home else we will be blimps. Since there are no barbers here I may look different when we return home with a pot belly and long hair.


This morning we had 15 young college students in who wanted information on hiking in Gates of the Arctic National Park. They were from Florida and have been hiking in a number of areas on their way up to the Arctic. They will only be on a one overnight camp in the Gates so they should fair just fine. I am sure that with the noise they will make hiking no bears will come within 5 miles of them. Sometime I think that bears have a better philosophy than some people (you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you).
Another good mail day for us with several letters. As I have said before mail day is a highlight of the week. Today we heard from Cheryl, Bruce Bixby and Charlie Brown and some more info on RV’s.
Tomorrow there will be some BLM people up here to conduct an inspection on a mining claim that is interpreting the mining laws a little too liberally. That happens from time to time.
Cheryl called again today and has now used up her 30 minute free Safeway long distance calling gift. That was a very nice thing that Safeway did by giving their customers the free calls.
This evening we had two large tour groups in for the presentation. One group was heading South from Prudhoe and the other North to Prudhoe. Marian gave a nice presentation to the group who seemed to appreciate hearing about the Arctic North. Several lingered around for some time after the presentation to talk. Several were interested in how to become a volunteer with the USF&W.


There were no tour busses this evening and we thought that we would close early. At 2033 one lady walked in for the presentation. Well our policy is if even one person shows up we will give the presentation - so we did -. This has been and continues to be a rainy evening with the temperature in the low 60s. The heater here in the trailer feels good. Oh yes, after the presentation Marian & I went over to the cafe and had a big slice of blueberry pie with ice cream.


Last night I woke up cold. Our main propane tank had run out and the heater stopped running. We have two tanks so this morning I twisted the valve to the other tank and had the empty one filled. Coldfoot Services is back on their “Coldfoot Time Schedule”. Even when they have the say as to when they will dump this thing they get it wrong. After receiving a call at the Center today advising me that they would be right over to dump the trailer I waited for 45 minutes and still no Coldfoot Services. I had to go over to remind them that they had just previously called to tell me that they would be over. I am one for rather precise timing but I guess I should be getting use to “Coldfoot Time” by now.
It has been a beautiful day! This past week it didn’t seem like we had many visitors when in fact after totaling up the statistics it turns out that this has been our highest visitor density week since the center was opened. To date we have had 2003 visitors at the center and the average seems to be about 1000 per month.
Our next door trailer neighbor just brought over the weekend paper so Marian will be in news heaven tonight. I haven’t really paid any attention to what is happening however I suppose Clinton is still president and we still have taxes and the government ain’t broke yet. At least I am still getting a retirement check deposited every month and we are getting all we want to eat and a roof over our head. What else is needed?


The troops have returned to Coldfoot. Both Sandy and Joe came back to town today. We had a nice day at the Center with a number of drop in guest and three bus loads of tourists for the evening presentation. After work Marian and I went over and had a Corona and back to the Trailer for our second supper of potato salad and hot dogs. We are now settled in for the night with Marian reading every sentence in the newspaper and me pecking away on the Computer.
Carol sent us a bunch of tapes in the mail today and we sure are enjoying hearing some new music for a change. We really appreciated receiving them. Thanks Carol & Austin. Cheryl sent us two letters and some more RV information. Thanks Cheryl.
Tomorrow we will use the BLM truck and go up the Hammond river and visit with some miners we met today at the Center.


Although today was a work day we didn’t do much work. After opening up the Center at 1300, sweeping it down & talking with some guests we headed off for the Hammond River. We borrowed the BLM truck and went visiting some miners. We had previously met these folks at the visitor center while filing some environmental complaints. They have a pretty big operation on the Hammond however I don’t think that they are actually pulling out much gold. We visited with Jack Jiles & his wife for a couple of hours and had coffee with them. While there a couple miners from down the road came up and sat a spell (so to speak). Jiles has several claims totaling about 100 acres and the miner down the road (Dan) has claims that covered about 40 acres. Most of these miners are “summer miners” and have homes somewhere else where they spend the winter months. This place is really not fit to spend the winter with the temperature down to -60 or -80 degrees. After saying that, Dave & Mike the miners we are going to visit tomorrow, plans on spending the winter at their mining base camp.
Marian and I have packed our day packs and are ready for our hike up to Dave & Mike’s gold claim tomorrow night after work. Fortunately it doesn’t really get dark so we will still be hiking in the light at midnight. As I have previously said we will be there for a couple of nights. I will take my camera and take pictures of Marian as she pulls that 16 oz gold nugget out of Sawyers Creek.


We departed for the Claim prior to the evening presentation. The truck we went in reminds one of a “typical” backwoods truck (no muffler, things held together with wire, the truck bed full of various odds & ends truck parts and a hound dog). On his gun belt Mike carried a long barrel 44 magnum pistol. Our drive was only about 8 miles to reach the river which we crossed in a canoe. Tok, the old hound dog swam the river. On the other side of the river we walked a short distance to the base camp where they keep extra supplies. After picking up a few things we started our hike to the gold claim. Our walk took us through thick wooded areas, up rather steep terrain, over three rock slides on the side of a high mountain, then alongside the swiftly running Sawyers Creek. We stopped several times on our hike to rest since we were carrying rather heavy back packs (they didn’t feel quite a heavy when we packed them as they did hiking). This mine is located at an elevation of near 3000 feet so things started to cool off as we reached the mountain top and there were no mosquitoes as there were along the route up. The mining camp consisted of two tents made from some blue plastic stretched over poles and a cook shack also covered with plastic, tarps, and anything else they could come up with to keep the wind and rain out. There were various pieces of mining equipment all over the place including a very nice suction dredge in the creek. Our first order of business was to brew up a pot of coffee and rest for a while. Afterwards we went down to the creek and started dredging for Gold. Mike had previously picked away at the creek bedrock and filled in the stream with potential gold sediment. The procedure is to knock down dirt and rocks from the stream bed walls in hopes that there will be some gold which falls into the creek along with the rocks, gravel & dirt. Next one lets this all settle and the lighter weight rocks & dirt will wash on down stream. The theory is that the gold will settle to the bottom of the creek bed in deep spots where one then uses the suction dredge to pull up and sift through what remains on the creek bed. The dredge is powered by a 8 hp gas engine which powers a “so to speak vacuum cleaner and hose assembly”. The lighter weight materials and big rocks are ejected through the back of the dredge and the concentrate collects on three shoots specifically designed to capture the heavy sediment. After dredging for a couple of hours you now have collected all of the concentrate which may contain gold. Next you carefully remove the concentrate from the shoots and put it into buckets. Then comes the panning. You take some of this concentrate, put in the gold pan, and slosh it around to remove lighter weight materials while causing the heavier material to settle to the bottom of the pan. Panning is an art and it isn’t as easy to do as one might think if you haven’t actually done it. I will take up to 15 minutes to pan out the rocks and have your gold remaining in the pan. You repeat this process until all of the concentrate from the bucket has been panned out. Sometimes you only get ever so small flakes and if you are lucky you might get a nugget. I might mention while all of this dredging was going on Marian was carefully removing bedrock from the side of the stream and found a small nugget stuck to one of the rocks. It turns out that this was the largest piece of gold we found. I guess one might equate gold mining to fishing in that there is both skill and luck involved. We finished with our work at about 2230 and headed up to the cook shack where Marian made some beef gravy which we had over bread then went to bed.
The next day, Thursday, we got up at about eight am and had pancakes before starting our mining. We spent all of the morning with pry bars, picks, shovels, rakes & hoes knocking down the creek bed walls and removing large rocks which would fall into the stream. We knocked off for lunch and let the water settle and carry the excess rocks & dirt down stream. As you might have anticipated the next step was to dredge. After about an hour into the dredging I rammed a steel rod into my left hand. When rocks get stuck in the suction dredge hose you have to use a long ram rod to knock them out. Some way I ended up ramming the rod into my left hand and knocking a pretty nice hole in it. That ended my dredging for the day since my hand was bleeding pretty much and didn’t feel too good. Marian insisted on taking me to Fairbanks to have a butterfly put on the cut but I didn’t want to go. Marian continued to help while I mostly just sat around and watched. Well after all of that work (over 8 hours) we just found a few small pieces of gold.
Marian fixed an excellent supper this evening (Thursday). We had boneless chicken, rice and broccoli and spinach then peaches for desert. Oh yes to talk about our sleeping accommodations. Marian slept in one of the tents, Mike in the other tent and I slept on a cot in the cook shack. We were expecting Dave the other miner to come up this evening and he would sleep in the tent with Mike. Normally in bear country one sleeps as far away from where you cook as possible so when I would hear things rattle (wind) I would look up to see if a bear was coming in to visit me in the cook shack. It was very cold up there on the mountain. The sleeping bags wouldn’t zip so wind came in every time you moved. I put on two pairs of pants, two shirts, two pair of socks and left my shoes on, then a jean jacket and a raincoat. Also I slept with my hat on.
Friday morning was mostly cleanup & equipment maintenance day. That was accomplished by noon so we started for home shortly thereafter. The trip down sure was a lot easier than going up. In addition to the downward hike our back packs were lighter from the food we didn't have to pack back.
When we got across the river to the truck it wouldn’t start so Mike walked up the road and got one of his outlaw miner friends to come down and give us a jump. When we made it back into Coldfoot our first order of business was to take showers and get cleaned up.
This evening Marian & I went over to the Coldfoot Cafe and had dinner. USF&W permits us to charge one dinner per month so tonight was the night before the month of July ends. It is pretty cool in Coldfoot tonight, the clouds hanging very low and it is raining. It looks and feels like fall.


The morning wasn’t too exciting other than doing laundry. We did however have a very nice evening in Wiseman. This evening was the installation of officers and opening of the new Wiseman American Legion. We went down at about six PM and returned home after midnight. Since we have been in Coldfoot for some time now we have gotten to know quite a few people around here including Wiseman. With tonight being the initial meeting and swearing in of officers they haven’t yet received their liquor license. There was plenty of the liquid refreshment however and since they couldn’t sell it they accepted donations. You should have seen all of the good food that they had. Beside the normal meats such as barbecue chicken, pork, wieners, & etc. there was of course moose and caribou. A high percentage of the persons at the Legion were gold miners and their wives and/or girlfriends. There was gold everywhere. A woman wasn’t a woman if she didn’t have a big nugget hanging around her neck. If you got to talking gold with a miner he would pull out his snuff can full of nuggets to show you. There were some very interesting people there with quite different personalities than we are normally use to in the lower 48. All nice when you get to know them. I think that there was about 65 adults and at least 25 children at the Legion opening party. We were glad that we attended.


The first of August has been rainy and cool. It is seven PM now and there is a complete cloud cover with low hanging fog and a light mist. I hope that this doesn’t continue for the month. Summer is suppose to last 3 months here so hopefully this will pass and we will see sunshine again. Marian tried her hand at gold panning again this afternoon. Sorry fans we are looking not finding. This evening we went over to the Coldfoot cafe and had their buffet dinner and as usual we are now stuffed like toads. Tomorrow will start our 10 day work period. We now have another volunteer at the Center. Rick’s mother is here and is doing volunteer work. Tomorrow we will have 5 persons in the Center. I don’t know what we will all do to keep gainfully occupied.


It hasn’t stopped raining since yesterday and it is still overcast and looks like late fall. With all of this rain this place is like one massive mud puddle. There is no pavement or blacktop in the area, just dirt and slosh. We drive most anywhere we go else we would bog down in the mud while walking. We had the wood stove burning most of the day at the Center and it sure felt good. This was international day at the Center since most of our guests were from other Countries. It is always interesting talking with them and hearing about their home Country.
Today was mail day and we received several letters/magazines and a box from Cheryl. Cheryl knows how I like peanuts and included a bag in the package. We also enjoyed listening to the tape that she sent and the candy. We talked with Debbie on the phone today and she is still looking hard for a new job since her existing company will be sold within the next three months.
This evening we went over to the Coldfoot cafe and had a snack. They make a “Coldfoot Burger” which is a hamburger with a slice of cheese, a slice of ham and a slice of pineapple on it. They also give you a big plate full of tater tots. It sure beats Slim Fast.


News Flash: It’s still raining and foggy. Marian and I wore our knee high rubber boots all day today so when we were outside we could keep our feet and legs dry. This is a typical foot wear of the Alaska outback. Marian & Sandy were in Wiseman this afternoon putting up bulletins for issuing subsistence permits. As I have probably mentioned natives here in the far north are permitted to hunt caribou and moose for food at no hunting cost. You must prove that you are a resident of the far north to be issued a no cost subsistence permit. Everyone else must pay for a hunting permit. Many of the people rely heavily on subsistence hunting for their meat. In the winter months most of the local residents run trap lines and sell furs for $$ income.
This evening we had a Princess tour bus in and of course a bunch of tourists. This group was heading North towards Prudhoe Bay. We got out of the Center at about 2145 and went over and had a Corona and a beef jerky at the Coldfoot bar. There is a “standard” group of locals that seems to always be there. Very few tourists frequent the bar in the evening since they have to get up so early in the morning (0530).
The humidity inside the trailer is so high that we cannot see out of the fogged up windows. We also get some dripping from the skylights.


Another News Flash: It is still raining and foggy. This evening we had “The Northern Most Girl Scout” troop at the presentation. This troop is staying in tents at Marion Creek and mapping out hiking trails. We loaned the troop leader our Global Positioning Receiver (GPS) to take AZ/EL readings for their mapping. As you probably know the GPS system consists of a group of satellites which emit signals used to triangulate and plot very accurate terrestrial positions. I think that the main reason they decided to attend the presentation was to get out of the rain and be in a warm building. I don’t blame them. It was nice having the troop at the presentation and trying to answer all of their many and varied questions. Jim gave the presentation tonight.


There were a large number of visitors sloshing up to the Center today including several from other parts of the world. Marian gave the presentation to 31 guests this evening.
Normally while sitting here at the kitchen table I can see the mountains which are no more than a mile away. Tonight all I see is a silhouette behind a white haze.
We have the Center to ourselves tomorrow. Both BLM and NPS have four days off. If we are lucky maybe Clayton will be here tomorrow with our food replenishment. We are eating odds & ends now. We ran out of oleo/butter so this morning we used olive oil in a pan to toast our bread. We have quite a bit of food ordered so what we don’t eat will go with us on our way back home. Our plans are to camp out as much as we can on the return trip. Hopefully the weather will be warmer with less rain as we head south.
This evening after the presentation we went over for a social hour at the Coldfoot bar. Dave, the miner, and several persons we have gotten to know were there and we enjoyed talking with them. Jim, the outlaw miner, was also there.


Another busy day with drop in guests and two busloads for the evening presentation. Finally a day of sunshine. Last month I was complaining about sunlight all day and night then this past week I was complaining about it being overcast. You just can’t make some people happy. Well we were glad to have the rain stop. We have now accumulated over 10 inches of rain over the past two and a three quarter months.
The presentation this evening ran a little longer because one elderly gentleman kept asking questions throughout the presentation.
We received a care package from Jane & Bruce today and sure have been enjoying all of the goodies. You don’t know how you miss the simple pleasure of life until you don’t have them.
We talked with Cheryl & Debbie on the telephone today. Debbie has found a new job and has a buyer for her house. Cheryl is still hoping that she will find a buyer for her Condo.
This evening we have been going through a Disney World vacation book that Cheryl sent. Sometime in the October/November time frame we are planning a trip to Disney World and take our Grandson Ryan to see Micky and friends.


As usual we got up at about ten this morning. Today we had pancakes with cherry topping for breakfast. Tomorrow our food replenishment should arrive by some BLM person who is coming up to Coldfoot from Fairbanks.
The young lady who works in the Fairbanks Public Lands Information Office came through Coldfoot today and brought us our Denali entrance & camping permits. We got to know Debbie while we were in Fairbanks prior to coming to Coldfoot. So it looks like we are all set for our Denali stop on the way home. Also we have our tickets for the narrow gauge train ride to the summit in Skagway all arranged.
Clayton was in today and I used his pressure washer to give the truck a good washing including the underside. It needed it with all of the mud we have around here. He has a pressure washer just like the one we have back in VA. His job is to go up and down the Dalton picking up trash and cleaning outhouses. Not a great job but it pays pretty good. I have talked about Clayton in previous log entries.
This evening Marian gave the presentation to 9 persons who are staying at a B&B in Wiseman. I am not sure that I would want to stay there since they don’t have running water or indoor plumbing at the Bed & Breakfast place. Not many people in Wiseman have these facilities in their homes. Also not all have electricity..
It is now ten thirty and we are waiting for Alice to come over and go to the Coldfoot cafe for a Coldfoot burger. You may remember Alice is Rick’s mother (one of the NPS persons here).
Tomorrow Alice and Marian are going fishing & gold panning (I think). Maybe they will end up sightseeing and berry picking or something. I will keep the Center and entertain tourists while they are gone.


Last evening we changed our plans somewhat and went to the American Legion in Wiseman at about 2300 and returned back to Coldfoot at about 0100. It was an enjoyable evening with the miners and local Wiseman folks. This time we drove right into Wiseman instead of parking and walking across the foot bridge. The creek was running pretty swiftly however with our high body 4 wheel drive truck we got across it OK. After returning to Coldfoot, Marian & I stopped by the Coldfoot Cafe and had our Coldfoot burger. I guess we finally got to bed somewhere after 0200.
It is 1500 and I am at the Center while Marian & Alice are off in search of wealth on Gold Creek. Manned (or womaned) with their gold pans, shovels and bug dope they took off shortly after noon. Last night while talking with some of the miners in Wiseman they may learned of some secret place to do their panning.
There has been a lot of air traffic into the Coldfoot airstrip today. We monitor the local air traffic channel (the one where pilots announce on the radio “I am going to land -look out-”). Also a number of the persons who landed here have been over to the Center to look around. Most are just out for their Sunday flight (a high percentage of persons here in Alaska have airplanes).
At about 2130 this evening our food replenishment arrived and in quantity. We are now in great shape for food. I can see the pounds adding up and the belt buckle slipping a notch during the next three weeks. We have a big pizza in the oven right now and will eat our midnight snack shortly.
We didn’t get to the trailer this evening until about ten thirty. Just as we were getting ready to close a couple came in who were planning a trip into the Gates tomorrow. We spent some time helping them find the maps needed and charting out their trip.
Well it’s time to quit using my fingers on the keyboard and start using them to eat pizza.
Oh Yes I must tell you that the Sohn family isn’t rich yet. Marian & Alice came back with empty gold pans. They did enjoy their trip however.


It’s ten thirty AM now and we have had our showers and a good breakfast. Since we are going to dump the trailer today we took showers here vs. going over to the Arctic Acres Inn. We had a Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato sandwich for breakfast which was very good for a change in menu. In two more days we will have a four day off period. During that time we will sort out things here at the trailer and in the back of the truck. We will try to get things organized for our return home. Since we plan on camping out on the way back we have to get things layered in the truck so that we don’t have to dig to the back of the truck bed for a needed item.
This was a pretty busy day for us and a very busy night with two large tour busses and a large attendance. Our southbound tourists are telling us that there has been quite a bit of snow up on Atigun Pass which is about 70 miles north of here. We have had the wood stove burning most of the day at the Center since it is rather cool here too.
At about 1800 Alice came over with a large dish of pasta and Marian fixed a salad and some desert. We enjoyed having dinner together. When we got into the trailer this evening we fixed ham and cheese sandwiches and enjoyed some chocolate chip cookies for desert. This heavy eating could possibly account for the tight feeling of my cloths.
Coldfoot Services was suppose to dump the trailer today but didn’t. We had to dump some of the grey tank on the ground since we have been taking showers here at the trailer and filled the tank. Most folks around here don’t seen to hesitate about dumping the grey water on the campgrounds. Anywhere else one would probably be shot.
One of the tourists tonight told us that tomorrow night we are suppose to have a lot of shooting stars. I will have to drag out the AM radio and see if I can pick up some stations since this type of condition could cause some signal bouncing. About the only news we get around here is by word of mouth. We have no idea of what's going on in the world beyond Wiseman and Coldfoot.


At the moment I am sitting on the porch here at the Center enjoying the sunshine. It has been a beautiful day. In the sun it is warm but cool otherwise. We have had a very slow day with hardly any visitors and no tour busses scheduled tonight. The District BLM manager was in today for a visit and an inspection tour of the new BLM campgrounds at Marion creek. Actually it was just a good reason to be out of the Fairbanks office.
Marian & Alice are over at the trailer hard at work cooking up a nice dinner for us this evening. Rick & Sandy are still out somewhere and Joe the other NPS fellow is in and out.
Well we did in fact have a nice dinner and I would say that we wouldn’t have any more to eat for the rest of the day but knowing us we will.
I gave the presentation to two people this evening. We thought that we would close early but as luck goes in strolls two people just as we were about to close up. You know our policy. If anyone shows we give it. The day sure goes by slowly when we don’t have guests to talk with during the day.
Marian & I just returned from the Coldfoot bar and now are in the process of fixing pizza for our midnight snack.
Something is radiating a broadband signal on all radio frequencies from AM up through VHF. If it doesn’t quit I will have no chance of seeing if I can pick up any bounce signals tonight. It must be something running inside one of these RV’s parked here in the parking lot that’s causing all of the interference.


There was a full house of Coldfoot Staff today. Sandy & Rick who were hiking in the Gates had a good bear story to tell. Their camp was visited by a bear who ripped their tent to shreds, bent the poles, slashed a backpack and took big bites out of their thermarest mattresses. This occurred while they were out on a hike and the bear was still there when they returned. They had more guts than I in that they stayed at the same site that night after the bear visit. Since the tent was ripped up they had to just sleep in their sleeping bags. Well at least they didn’t get hurt and have a good story to tell and some photos. I think that is one photo I could do without.
Our day was fairly busy and we had a large crowd over for the presentation which Rick gave (and he told his bear story). During the day one of the Communications persons was over from Beetles and he & I did some work on the hand held commo units. We now can talk through a repeater about 50 miles away into Fairbanks. We are getting pretty hi-tech for an out of the way place (Computers, FAX, telephone, a radio base station & several hand held units, and soon a modem link into the Fairbanks BLM computer network).
This evening Marian & I went blueberry picking. We picked enough berries for two days of cereal & blueberries for breakfast. They are abundant and very close to our trailer. We may pick some more in a couple of days. You can tell that it is getting fall time here by all of the small trees changing their color from green to orange, red, and shades in between. The grass is dying and it is getting pretty cool at night. It is freezing weather at the higher elevations such as Atigun Pass about 70 miles north of here.


This is the first of our four day off duty period. So far today we have taken everything out of the truck bed and cleaned all of the dust out of it. Next we packed up the cloths and other things that we don’t anticipate needing between now and returning home. The two suitcases with all of that stuff is now pretty inaccessible at the front part of the truck bed. I hope that we didn’t miscalculate since it would require moving everything out to get to them. The truck is packed as well as we can at this point in time. We are anticipating warmer weather down south so we have our shorts and short sleeve shirts out for the trip. Since we will still be in Alaska for some time after leaving Coldfoot we made sure that we could get to our coats if needed. It sure is cool here with the temperature today in the upper 40’s and low 50’s. Marian has been cleaning the trailer this afternoon. After while we will take a walk down the Slate Creek trail for an outing.
It is now 1930 and we returned from our walk just in time to miss the rain which just started. It looks like the rain has set in for the night. This evening we had cabbage with apples and ham. It was very good. Marian made a fruit salad and I went over to the Coldfoot cafe and bought a pint of hand packed ice cream to go with the salad.


This is one of our favorite days - mail day -. We received a letter from Cheryl and from Doug Faith. Also we received the little panorama camera which we had ordered several weeks ago. This camera has a panoramic lens and produces 3.5 by 10 inch prints. For breakfast this morning we had a big skillet full of home fried potatoes with ham and English muffins. Jane & Bruce sent us a couple cans of the International Coffees so had French Vanilla Coffee with our breakfast. It is 1500 now and we will fix a can of chunky New England Clam chowder for our afternoon snack.
Tomorrow we plan on taking the BLM truck and drive up to Atigun pass to look at the terrain now that it’s fall. There will be snow on the mountains up north and we will get a chance to take some pictures with the panorama camera. We may stop by Wiseman on the way back and visit with the folks there.
While at the Cafe this morning we talked with Mike and Dave (the miners). Mike showed us a 13 pennyweight nugget that he pulled out of the creek wall yesterday. Again this is the same spot where we were working when we were at the mine. Like I have said before gold mining is like fishing (sometimes you get a nugget and sometimes you don’t).
This morning we took inventory of things in the trailer. We now have the inventory list on the Computer. This will be useful for the next years occupants.
Marian is packing up some “T” shirts to send out in todays mail to Patty & family. Not too many folks have a shirt that says “Coldfoot” on it. Since I like hats I got me a “Coldfoot” baseball type hat.
At about 1800 we each had a BLT sandwich and it tasted so good that we fixed two more. We will go over to the Center and give Debbie a call at 1900. Debbie called yesterday and today while we were out. We know that one thing that she wanted to tell us was that Cindy had a baby boy.
We talked with Debbie, Kyle & Ryan on the phone. Debbie has a housefull of boys tonight including the neighbor boy Mattie. Afterwards we walked Alice down to her National Parks cabin which is in the woods about a half mile from our trailer. We got caught in the rain on our way back to the trailer. I guess we have completed our outdoor activities for the day and will now settle in for the evening.


This has and continues to be a very rainy and overcast day. We didn’t get up until after ten this morning. With the rain we had about decided against the drive up the Dalton but since we didn’t have anything better to do we did it anyway. We drove up past Atigun pass and enjoyed the trip. There was fresh snow on the mountains and just a few flakes hit the windshield as we went over the pass. We saw Dall Sheep fairly near the road as we headed down the north slope of the pass.
On our way back we stopped by Wiseman and went to the trading post and visited with Sherry (the owner) and got some hot seasoned potato chips to tide us over until supper.
Marian invited Sandy over to have supper with us this evening. We had ham with sweet & sour sauce, baked potatoes with sour cream and butter, and cream style corn.
We now have a new part time person at the Center. Cary, the young girl who works at the Arctic Acres gift shop, got into some type of trouble in Fairbanks and the judge there gave her 20 hour of community service as her penalty. The Judge will permit Cary to help us out at the Center to work off her time. I had not previously thought of the work at the Center as “working off time” to repay a debt to society. Cary said, “well I didn’t really do anything awful”.
It is now 2030 and we are pretty well settled in for the evening, doing what I don’t know.


Last night we went to bed at about 2130 which is the earliest for us in a long time. Consequently we awoke early today and now have the entire day to try and figure out what to do. This morning we had biscuits, gravy, ham & eggs and coffee for breakfast. I made the biscuits and they were more akin to rocks vs. biscuits. We ate all of them we could stand and fed the rest to the ravens. It is rainy and cool here with mud and slush everywhere you step. We just returned from a walk over to the Coldfoot cafe where we visited with some of the hand-arounds. The knee high rubber boots are an essential here for sloshing in the muck and mud.
Tomorrow will start our last work period here at the Coldfoot Visitor Center. I think that Rick’s Mother, Alice will leave sometime next week and Rick will probably leave shortly after our departure on the 25th. The Center will close down for the winter in early September.
The rain let up in late afternoon so Marian & I put on our boots and went for a walk. Afterwards we dropped by the Center for a visit then back to the trailer. With all of that walking and talking we were hungry so off to the Coldfoot cafe for their tourist buffet. I think that I have explained in the past all of the good things there to eat so I won’t repeat myself. Anyway we are as full as ticks on a hound dog and are settled in for the evening. Tomorrow is a work day for us and we are actually looking forward to work since just hanging around gets tiresome.


This was an enjoyable day at work. Also this was a great day for correspondence. When we arrived at the Center there was a FAX awaiting us from Cheryl. Also we received letters from Cheryl, John Tredwell, & Sue Troyer.
Today you can see a light coating of snow on one of the mountains here in Coldfoot. For sure summer has ended. If one is impatient to see the seasons then they should come to Coldfoot. Within less than three months you can see spring, summer, fall and winter.
Marian & I worked together at the evening presentation. Marian gave the introduction, welcome and area history followed by me presenting the slide show. We had a Princess tourbus and some dropin’s tonight.
After the presentation we stayed at the Center for an hour or so talking with Don Keill who is the mining engineer for the Arctic District. He answered a number of questions we had concerning gold mining activities. He is a very knowledgeable and interesting person to talk with. He told us how Clinton’s new mining laws has disturbed & affected many the small claim owners. Any person in a uniform up here is not immediately accepted by the locals. If you rank the Dept of Interior organizations, the National Park Service (NPS) ranks first, followed by BLM and the USF&W. That is ranked in terms of distrust and threat. I guess since we are JAV’s (Just A Volunteer) we are given special consideration and not looked upon as a real threat. We have gotten to know a lot of folks here and appreciate their viewpoints and concerns.
We went by the Coldfoot Cafe and had cheesecake and coffee. It is now midnight and we are brewing a pot of coffee. The heater is on here in the trailer and we are comfortably settled in for the winters night. Yes it is actually dark outside with the heavy cloud cover.