Kobuk Valley: Eight-Mile road

We had dinner at the Bayside Inn, which is a delightful place that serves breakfast food, Chinese and American. It was quite the amalgamation of food, good, but definitely an interesting combination. After dinner we were walking outside and ran into this guy named John.

John had a sweet pickup truck with a back that was a bunch of wood planks. He asked us what we were up to in town. Kotz is small enough that when new faces appear the regulars know if you are visiting or not. We told him about our National Park trip and that we were visiting to fly into Kobuk Valley. He asked if we had been to 8-mile road.

There is a road on the backside of town called 8-mile road, I think you can guess how it got its name. Trevor and I hopped on the back of the truck and Lindsy sat in the cab and we drove off into the sunset. We stopped on the beach where John showed us the racks where the locals dry their salmon. 

He also showed us the beached and rusting boat with hilarious graffiti and piles of caribou carcasses. There was a beautiful bear pelt that had been wasted. It was sopping wet and I wondered if there was a way to recover it. Being that I know less than nothing about pelts I had to watch it rot.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 12.05.29 AM.png

You always hear about how native populations honor nature, and part of their culture is to respect the animals. This was clearly not the case, it was sad because less than a mile from town there was a carcass dump for caribou. It was disgusting. Piles and piles of wasted and rotting animal refuse. 

We continued the drive around 8-mile road and John told us that it was a popular blueberry-picking place for the community. ‘What about bears?’ We asked. They don’t come by. They get shot if they come anywhere near town, so bears aren’t really a problem, they know not to get close. We finished the drive right as darkness was closing in, it was cold, but about the only tour of the city that we could go on.

After John showed us the road we decided to run 8-mile road the following day. It was sunny, and beautiful. I was going out for a leisurely jog and Lindsy wanted to make it a race. I can’t contain myself when someone wants to race. When I was younger that excitement usually led to me running out fast early and then losing steam. As I have gotten older I have learned to control myself. I like to go out slow and then pour on the after burners after everyone is exhausted. That’s what I did. Kept it comfortable until mile 6 and then whoosh, smell ya later!