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  • Ken Ilgunas

My new home

I arrived in Fairbanks earlier this week. My old park ranger friend, Josh–not to be confused with my other good friend named Josh–and I went out on a 38 mile hike to and from Bus 142 on the Stampede Trail in which Chris McCandless lived and died. (I’ll do a post on that another day.)

The following day I got a plane ride up to Coldfoot in the company’s 10-seat Navajo. Here are a couple views from the clouds.

It’s been an exceptionally hot spring/summer season so far, so there are plenty of wild fires, which caused, as you’ll see, the following pictures to be a little smoky.

Yukon River.

Here’s the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River–a 10-minute walk from where I live in Coldfoot.

I am Coldfoot Camp’s “writer in residence.” I’ll devote almost all of my time to literary pursuits, but, for room and board, I’ve agreed to work at the camp one day a week (without pay). What that work will be is uncertain as of this moment, but I’m willing to do anything, as I’m more than happy with our agreement.

My new home has electricty, two windows, two beds, and a small desk for writing. Currently there’s no internet connection, but I can get that at the camp’s central headquarters. There’s also no need for a stove or fridge since there’s a kitchen staff that makes breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets for the truckers, tourists, and Coldfoot staff, of which I’m considered one.

Inside of cabin when I arrived.

As you can see, there are two random sticks hanging from the ceiling, each of which had nails poking out at about retina-level, which I bumped into 4 or 5 times despite being deathly aware of.

Heap of dead mosquito carcasses in my windowsill.

Blinds hung from inventively-bent wire hanger.

Random union button.

I removed the eye-gouging posts, moved the beds around, and tidied up. The next few shots are an almost 360-degree view of the cabin.

Here’s the view from my rear window: spruce, birch trees, and what looks like a vacant husky house.

Needless to say, I am very happy with my new home. Certainly an upgrade from the van.


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