Pajara Creek

March 26, 2011

With flashbacks to a 2008 trip!

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Five of us revisited Pajara Creek in March 26, 2011. It was a lot of fun with no real difficulties. We also did this in 2008 ... with somewhat more difficulty!


Pajara Creek, a tributary of the Eldorado river, is approximately 25 miles northeast of Nome. It was mined out of gold in the early days by a steel-hulled dredge. Herb Engstrom bought this dredge, dissassembled it, and brought the pieces overland to Basin creek where it was reassembled and put to use. It is there today, and run by his son Ron Engstrom.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Alma Ahnangnatoguk Smithhisler

I first met Alma when she was a neighbor of mine in 1970. Today she has a grandchild in Headstart. I am the Headstart bus driver, the subject of snowmachining came up, and here she is.

Here she is starting the trip ... she is riding my 2007 Tundra 300, and she is very good with it!


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Crossing Osborne

With the Osborne subdivision in the background, we cross Osborne Creek on the way to Pajara.

Five us initially started the trip, Keith Andrews, Ramon Gandia, Alma Ahnangnatoguk, Derrick Leedy and Kenny Shapiro.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Leedy and Ramon Confer

Dr. Derrick Leedy is the local veterinarian. Here we confer about something on the way out.

Kenny left us shortly after to go to White Mountain solo.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Moose Sign

Moose have rooted for food and left sign on the Eldorado River country.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Moose in Sight!

And sure enough, here are the moose! We counted a total of eight cows, fat and getting ready to drop their calves.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Pajara Creek

At the airstrip is this old wagon, piles of steel drums and discarded machinery.

In the background is Pajara Creek itself.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Flat Tire

This old wagon is not going anywhere.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Buildings at Pajara

The wooden one houses some sort of machinery, perhaps a boiler; the corrugated roof of some sort of storage shed is in the foreground. Snow is deep here.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Return to Nature

Heavy moss and fungi are slowly reclaiming the wooden roof of the boiler shed.

You could say that this building is reverting to nature ... in a few decades or centuries it will become a future archaelogical find, and finally will come full circle back to the ground.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.


The snow is deep and insulates the creek, so the creek current melts a hole.

This is very common in the local creeks. They form a difficult and dangerous obstacle when snowmachining in creeks.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Some Make It

Here, Alma -with Ramon in the background- have uneventfully crossed the creek.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

And Some Don't

Doctor Leedy planted his machine when some of that snow over the creek gave way. He was not there very long.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

2008 Difficulties

This picture is a flashback to the 2008 Pajara Creek.

Clinton Slater's machine nosedived through the ice into the River. It was damaged and took a while to get it out.

Clinton looks from the left, Lance Cannon is the helmeted page, and Ramon in the red jacket contemplate the problem.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

2008 Pulling it Out

This picture is a flashback to the 2008 trip.

It took a Lot of work and effort to pull his machine out in 2008.

Clinton i staring at the camera, Ramon in the Red and Dr Leedy in the blue tug and pull the rope. The machine came out this way.

2011 went a lot smoother!


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.


This snow-sculpted ravine is beckoning some exploration. Keith actually made it in there, but no one had a camera to record the event.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.


Ptarmigan, a form of grouse, gather and feed around the Willow shoots. Large flocks are common. The birds are in their winter white plumage.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.


Alma and Ramon confer while waiting for Keith and Leedy.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Endless Powder!

The entire trip had ideal snow conditions, fluffy and soft on the top with powder, and a firmer base underneath covering the gotchas.

We do not get conditions like this every year.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Pooped Out

At the headwaters of Pajara there are two tributaries with tall hills. We climbed those, but it was some work.

Here Dr. Leedy takes a breather from his exertions.

The camaraman was too busy to take any useful pictures of the climbs.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Mystery Sign

We surmise a large bird, perhaps an Eagle, landed here and took a dump. There are no tracks whatsoever leading to this sign.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Leaving Pajara

Back at the airstrip Keith took this picture of Pajara.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Eldorado Crossing

Ramon Crosses the Eldorado River on the way back to Nome.


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Alma and Ramon

Coming up behind Keith and Dr. Leedy is Alma and Ramon.

Perfect cruising conditions!


Copyright © 2011, Keith Andrews.

Keith Andrews

Our intrepid Cameraman, Keith Andrews, took this self portrait at the conclusion of our trip.


Narrative Copyright © 2011, Ramon Gandia.
All rights reserved.