Back in mid-August, a buddy and I took off on an adventure. The original plan was to visit a site someone had told us about up near Wiseman, Alaska. The scenery was supposed to be stunning, the gold and semi-precious stones easy to find, and –best of all– the mining claim was lapsed so we wouldn’t technically be doing anything illegal.

I’m a skeptical person and this all sounded a bit too good to be true, but I went along with it anyway. Even if it didn’t pan out– pun intended– it’d still be a great adventure, right?

A little bit of history: Wiseman is roughly 300 miles north of Fairbanks on the Dalton Highway, the so-called Haul Road that connects Alaska’s farthest north transportation hub with the North Slope. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 14 people. The nearest community is Coldfoot, population 10.

The history of these two communities has been entwined since gold was first discovered in the area in 1899. While the initial goldrush didn’t last long, mining has continued off and on in the area since. Which brings us to today, and the now-abandoned industrial-scale Nolan Mine.

Continue reading “Wiseman, Nolan Mine, And Marion Creek”