Once in awhile .. It happens .. From Time-To-Time .. Something gets completely away from me. This Post is one such case. IF .. In case anyone goes all the way through it and actually survives the journey .. You have my apologies. It could have been three Posts.
Let me say this: I am not sure many of you will ever visit a real end-of-the-road community here in rural Alaska. Here is your opportunity to do just that.
Well? Here we go loop-de-loop .. Here we go loop-de-li .. Deep Breath .. Hold It .. Let it out slowly.
Yesterday, in my Post dated SEP 22, 16 .. We arrived into Manley Hot Springs after a long, 520-mile drive North from Anchorage Alaska. We did not rush. The drive took us two days.
When you reach milepost Mile 149 of the Elliot Highway you have arrived at Manley Hot Springs Alaska.
We have a very nice welcome sign in Manley.
In June of 1998 I purchased a small cabin in Manley and became a legal resident.
What to do? What to see? In Manley Hot Springs Alaska.
Well, to be brutally honest, there are not too many things to see, and even fewer things to do, but I will do my best here.
Quick aside. Winter defines Alaska. In the winter the local residents (those who live here year-around) hop onto their snow machines or hook up teams of dogs and 'go-at-it' big time.
But this is September and this is what you are going-to-get.
As you follow this Post, keep in mind that in the summer there may be 150 residents. In the winter there may be 75 people. These people are spread out over many miles so the population density is very light.
As you slowly motor into Manley, the first major 'Manley Sight' you will arrive at is the ..
Bridge across Hot Springs Slough.
Now we are going to walk out to the middle of the bridge and show you what Hot Springs Slough looks like as viewed from the bridge.
It really is beautiful.
The next two photos below are photos of Hot Springs Slough as viewed from a friend's home downstream from the bridge.
There is a lot of activity out on the slough.
Now we have walked completely across the bridge and have turned around 180-degrees and are looking back at the bridge.
Now turn to your right from the above photo and you see a very nice picnic / recreation area in the photos below.
Now I am going to show you one of the above photos a second time.
On the left side of the above photo, across Hot Springs Slough past the trees, lies one of the really major attractions here in Manley.
The Manley Hot Springs Road House.
In the next photo below we have crossed the bridge in the above photo and get our first glimpse of The Manley Road House.
The Manley Road House really is a big deal.
The photos below show a large parking area associated with the Roadhouse. This area fills up on the major summer holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day)
Time to go inside of the road House and take a little look-see.
When I am at-home and living more-or-less full time in Manley, I often go into The Road House and sit in the above area and quietly read.
The Road House has a very large, and a very fully-stocked, bar.
Captain! Let's get something to eat! We are hungry.
The Manley Post Office and The Manley Trading Post.
To you reading this, a Post Office is no big-deal. To those living here, the Post Office IS a big-deal. Almost all of my socializing is done at the Post Office, picking up, and waiting for mail to be sorted.
Weather permitting, and in the winter weather is a big-deal, mail comes in three days-a-week, M/W/F, by bush plane.
The longest time that I have ever experienced during a winter weather-delay was 10 days without mail.
No big-deal right? To us ten days without mail seems like a month.
The Manley Trading Post is 100% independent from the Post Office although they do share the same building.
The Post Office.
I have had a Post Office Box here since June of 1998.
Captain? Is that-it for the Post Office? Yes.
A few photos of The Trading Post.
This will be a surprise but we also have a Manley Village Market as well as the above Trading Post.
Manley Village Market
The Manley Hot Springs School.
The school IS a big-deal. There are, and it varies from year-to-year, approximately 12 children who attend the school. First grade through 12th grade. The school provides jobs for a number of locals. Let's say ten people make their living associated with the school.
In May of 1997, in Hong Kong, I met a lady named Audrey who was married to a cousin of the Dart Family. Long story short, this is what brought me to Manley Hot Springs Alaska. Go figure! I could write a book!
Precious, absolutely precious elder school !
The elder school's outhouse.
"Yes 'Zilla." ..
"I have been there in Manley Hot Springs with you. When are you going to get to the Hot Springs?"
"What would I do without you 'Zilla?"
The Hot Springs in Manley Hot Springs Alaska
Yes there really are Hot Springs in Manley.
The Hot Springs were developed by the Dart family patriarch Chuck Dart. They are surrounded by an incredible garden. Some years ago, in the winter, Chuck Dart walked to the Post Office to collect his mail. On the way home he slipped on the ice and fell. He died from head injuries.
I will start with far more photos of the exterior of the Hot Springs Building than anyone will ever want to see!
The white 'dots' in the background are 'Satellite Dishes' the Dart family use.
Yes indeed! The exterior of the building is plastic sheeting.
Now we will enter and go inside.
Get ready for a tropical garden.
And now the Hot Springs Baths.
In the above photo can you see Patti in the center?
If I had to pick just one number for the temperature of the water in the tubs it would be 107 Degrees F.
There are four of these concrete tubs. Each is slightly different in temperature. Patti could not tell any radical differences.
Amen to the above request.
Did I just write the religious word 'Amen'? Let's see the Manley Church.
The Church in Manley Hot Springs.
Let's go inside of the Church.
The service is led by a lay-person. The message is carried over the radio. At one time we had a full time pastor.
There is a modest but extremely pleasant kitchen in the rear of the church.
Manley Health Clinic and Washeteria
From time-to-time, we have a full time health aide. As you might expect, health aides come-and-go. Having a Laundromat is not only wonderful but it is absolutely vital.
There are two full shower rooms in the Washeteria. One of them is behind the door to the right.
Hot Springs Hall
This is a really nice community center. Monthly community meetings are held here as are other community gatherings.
In the above photo, on the left and on the right of the community center, you can see our ambulance and fire truck.
In a dire emergency, the ambulance will take one to the airport where a med-evac flight will fly them into Fairbanks.
Most of us haul water to our 'dry' cabins. The source of our water is the below water well. A few residents have drilled active water wells inside of their cabins.
In the winter, getting water is extremely dangerous. You are on an icy surface with water on-top-of-the-ice. So I do NOT fill the 5-gallon jugs 100% full because I can not risk slipping and falling due to them being too heavy.
How do I know how full the jugs are?
What you are seeing here are 'calibrated' measuring rods that allow me to determine just how much water I have in each jug.
I usually fill them to 3-gallons.
I am able to haul ten 5-gallon jugs as well as a 5-gallon bucket of water on each trip to the well house.
I fill 1-gallon Clorox bleach jugs with water by first pouring it into 1-gallon measuring pitchers.
Then I store them in my cabin. I have them numbered so that I can 'rotate' through them being sure no water gets stagnant.
I also store water in the 5-gallon jugs themselves.
I can store 125-gallons of water when I am 'fully watered up'. When it is minus 60 F you can NOT be starting your truck. So you must 'plan ahead'. You do not see two, 32-gallon, trash barrels that I also use to store water.
To put it mildly, living in the bush is an active life.
The Tanana River.
Do any of you think that the word Tanana rhymes with banana. It does NOT rhyme with banana!
Tanana is pronounced as Tan na naw!
After you pass through Manley, the Elliot Highway ends about 3-miles from the Post Office at the Tanana River.
Below are photos of the boat launching facility at the end-of-the-road.
This is one very large 'fish wheel' used to catch salmon out of the Tanana River.
Our Manley Hot Springs Residence
WHEW ! We are finished.
We will 'call-this-a-wrap ! Well almost. Keep reading below.
Patti and Cap
Dad ! Oh Dad ! You forget ME Dad ! And I am important Dad !
Well ! Yes indeed you ARE very important !
Bad news. Even living in the remote wilderness we all create trash.
Good news. Even in the remote wilderness we DO have a sanitary landfill and two burn barrels.
We want to close this with a few more photos from-the-road.
The beauty of Alaska is stunning.
Truly this is it ! Finished !