Day trip up the Steese Highway to Nome Creek- 5-28-2014
Yesterday I took a day trip up to Nome Creek to check out the cultural resources there. The photo above is of the Nome Creek Valley from the top of the ridge between Nome Creek and the Chatanika River Valley.
The road into Nome Creek (U.S. Creek Road) begins at Mile 57 of the Steese Highway.
This is an inverted siphon along the Davidson Ditch, which brought water from the upper reaches of the Chatanika River to gold dredges near Fairbanks. It is located just up U.S. Creek Road from the Steese Highway
A view of the U.S. Creek Valley as the road ascends the ridge between the Chatanika River Valley and the Nome Creek Valley.
This is a long-distance view of the Nome Creek bridge (photo center) on the far side of the ridge. The road splits just past the bridge. Road to the right goes 4 miles upstream to the Mt. Prindle campground. Road to the left heads 12 miles downstream to the Ophir Creek campground.
Looking up Nome Creek at the bridge.
Looking up Nome Creek from the bridge.
Looking down Nome Creek from the bridge
Two small dredges used to operate along Nome Creek. Both are long gone, but remnants of that era remain. About a mile up the road towards the Mt. Prindle campground is a small area with scattered parts for one of the dredges. To the right is a large belt pulley. The pulley is about 4′ in diameter.
This is a large gear–about 5′ tall. The muskeg is gradually growing up around it. (Or maybe it is gradually sinking into the muskeg.)
These are dredge buckets. They are probably about 2′ tall, but its hard to tell. Early spring is actually a great time to photograph them, since they would be even more obscured by vegetation later in the summer.
This is a view of Nome Creek just below the Mt. Prindle campground.
The entrance to the Mt. Prindle campground
If you take the left fork of the road at the bridge towards Ophir Creek you will drive by a section of Nome Creek called “The Maze.” This is about a mile-long section of tailings piles left by one of the dredges. Elsewhere, Nome Creek runs fairly straight down the valley, but the dredge zigzagged across the valley floor, altering the creek’s course so it also zigzags through the maze.
I just went up to Nome Creek to take photos of the dredge equipment so I didn’t make it down to Ophir Creek. Some other day I’ll take photos down there to post.