Kougarok Highway

Today was an interesting day. We swapped out the Jeep for a large, ¾ ton Dodge Pickup – newer truck with better tires. Michael walked out and put our gear in the truck and closed the door. The rear window of the truck exploded. Now, I know you are all saying that Michael slammed the door too hard, but this is not the case. For whatever reason (I’m convinced that Zuma GPS of the trickster clan Raven was at fault), the pressure and conditions were just right for the damn window to blow out while in our hands. We really didn’t want to do anything, lest we have to pay for a very expensive window (in Anchorage it would be about $400 – God knows what it would cost in Nome). We couldn’t reach the owners. We talked about Plan B which was to forgo the road to Pilgrim Hot Springs and just walk around and check out Nome. Eventually, the owner came by and taped up the window in a manner that kept most of the rain and mosquitoes out. We were off.

Image of a Shattered truck window

Shattered truck window

The final road of travel in our trilogy is called the Kougarok Road, an 86 mile course that meanders north from the Bering Sea. We expected the scenery to be very similar to the Teller Highway. We drove out of Nome and quickly found ourselves on a road that traveled beneath some pretty jagged mountains, not hills as we anticipated. Now it could be that the Teller Highway had jagged peaks, but the day we traveled it was overcast and rainy, with low clouds shrouding the tops of the hills and making visibility less than ideal.

Image of of the Kougarok Highway surrounded by mountainous terrain

Kougarok Highway travels north into the mountainous terrain

Image of a bright green open tundra landscape

Eventually the landscape opens to sweeping views across the tundra

The Kougarok was a dry road, but eventually we hit muddy clay that would be difficult to ride on a motorcycle in wet conditions. We got to the Pilgrim Road turnoff (mile 53) and evaluated the access road. We opted to not take the pretty, white, long, big-ass truck down the trail. We didn’t want to have to reimburse the owner for a new paint job which is exactly what would have happened traveling through the brush on such a narrow road. We recognized that Pilgrim Hot Springs is unfinished business better served by a motorcycle – next time.

Image of a dirt road surrounded by green shubbery

Pilgrim Hot Springs road starts out narrow and muddy and heads west for about 7 miles. It gets rougher and narrower before it ends at a primitive (even by Alaskan standards) hot spring.

Image of a wooden hot tub in the middle of a green field

The Pilgrim Hot Springs hot tub is out in the open, in the middle of a field – rustic even by Alaskan standards. Photo Credit: Oscar Voss

Image of a large tub with a small ladder on the side

The plastic-lined inside of the tub, with a ladder to climb down in, and the hose pumping in hot water (the excess runs off into the field). There is no seating inside the tub, other than the ladder steps. However, most people can easily stand in the tub, with the water about shoulder-high (about four and a half feet). Photo Credit: Oscar Voss

We turned back and had a picnic on a beautiful mountain side. The ride back to town was easy and gave us time to wander the streets of Nome.  We drove up and down every single street, side streets included.

Image of a white truck with a broken window parked in front of a building with a sign reading, "Board of Trade Saloon"

Our truck (with taped window) at the end of the day. Even though it was sunny, the road was damp enough to cover the truck. We enjoyed a beer at the oldest bar in Nome.

We drove out to the marina, the main dock, the cemetery, and even made it up to the old White Alice site that towers above Nome. We finished the day by standing on the black sand beaches of Nome watching the boats drift by.

Image of a beach with black sand

The black sand beaches of Nome, Alaska

Penises, the Cold War, and film stars
Flat tire fiasco
About Maya

My name is Maya, and I wander.


  1. I want to go now!!!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Do go! It was really nice!

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