Rhymes with Smoke

Alaska’s 2013 summer was the best anyone could remember — warm temperatures and plenty sunshine — but when our tires rolled across the border on June 26, we were just days from discovering one of the things that keep anyone from using the word “perfect” to describe this season: wildfires.

Tok (rhymes with smoke) was a nice town to settle into for a few days, which we spent doing the laundry, shopping in the few gift stores we found, and collecting information on the various national and state parks within reach of our route.


And it was a good base for a day trip to Chicken.

We’d been told by more than a few people that Chicken is a “must see” destination. I’d debated about whether to take the full rig up or just make it a day trip, and I was glad we chose the latter. Why? Because there’s nothing in Chicken.


Oh. Wait. It does have a few restaurants (the one we tried had lousy food), a few shops (mostly filled with “I’ve been to Chicken” tee shirts), a gold dredge you can pay money to tour (the outside only, as it’s unsafe to go inside; we opted to gander from nearby for free)…

…and appreciated the “Chicken Poop” outhouses:


We quickly realized that the gold-mining days of Chicken are not gone. The miners have just changed their focus from mining streams and ground to digging for gold in the pockets of tourists 🙂

The drive was mostly paved from Tok, and though we hoped for some great scenery, wildfire smoke left us with little to see in the distance…


…so we focused on the beauty at our feet:


About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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