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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Alaska: Leaving Nome‏

September 4th, 2009 · 2 Comments

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Unlike other commercial hubs in rural Alaska, Nome is a “wet” city, with bars and liquor stores. Nome has many of them for the three-fourths of the Alaska Native population that has an alcohol problem, which greatly concerns Pastors David and Julie. At this bar, the sign below the word “Saloon” says, “Headquarters for the Sin City of Nome.”

One of Nome's Many Bars

One of Nome's Many Bars

Pastor Julie’s and David’s Methodist Church is Nome’s oldest Protestant Church, established 1900.

Nome's Methodist Church

Nome's Methodist Church

I went with Pastor Julie to radio station KICY, where she broadcasts a weekly half-hour sermon. KICY is the only U.S. radio station that can legally broadcast into Russia. It focuses its 50,000 watt signal on Russia every night.

Nome's Christian Radio Station

Nome's Christian Radio Station

Julie and David also work with the Thrift Store, which is next to the church.

Two Girls with a New Toy in the Thrift Store

Two Girls with a New Toy in the Thrift Store

Nome is far from home, about 3,400 miles. The North Pole is much closer, just 1,759 miles, and Nome is only 141 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

Far from Anywhere

Far from Anywhere

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race starts near Anchorage and ends here in Nome more than 1,000 miles away. This famous race is the most popular sporting event in Alaska. It commemorates the most famous event in the history of Alaskan mushing, the 1925 serum run to Nome.

A diphtheria epidemic threatened Nome, especially the Eskimo children who had no immunity to the “white man’s disease.” But the nearest quantity of antitoxin was in Anchorage. Both of the planes in Alaska had never been flown in the winter, so the governor ordered the serum to be sent by train 298 miles to Nenana, where they passed it just before midnight on January 27 to the first of twenty mushers and more than 100 dogs who relayed the package 674 miles from Nenana to Nome.

The dogs ran in relays, with no dog running more than 100 miles. The Norwegian Gunnar Kaasen and his lead dog Balto arrived on Front Street in Nome on February 2 at 5:30 a.m., just five and a half days later. Here is the sign today on Front Street.

Iditarod

Iditarod

Here are typical homes in Nome. Typical, except for the pelts drying in the front yard and other local decorations.

Home in Nome

Home in Nome

A Hunter's Paradise

A Hunter's Paradise

This morning just as the sun rose the moon set. This is the view from my favorite (essentially the only) restaurant here, The Polar Cafe.

Full Moon at Sunrise Over the Port of Nome

Full Moon at Sunrise Over the Port of Nome

No matter how far we go in this world we all share the same sun and moon. And Earth.

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Posted in: Alaska, Photography

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Booker // Dec 2, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I worked in Nome for 2 years, I’d love to go back. Someone asked me to write about my adventure.I have to consider that, but in the meanwhile it was nice to see this..others have been there and back. nice website..it captures the essence of the place..you just need a little of the bitter sting of winter..
    A few rural shots would be nice , e.g the road to Teller or Council.

  • 2 David Mendosa // Dec 2, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Dear Booker,

    You want rural shots? You got em! See http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/?p=4545 and http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/?p=4564 and http://www.mendosa.com/fitnessblog/?p=4628

    I skipped the sting of winter. But since it’s snowing right now where I live in Boulder, Colorado, I appreciate that winter can sting!

    Best regards,

    David

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