Hooks for Cooks™

My PeeWee MinerWhen we lived in a Alaska three summers ago, we ventured forth every weekend.

If we weren’t camping in our travel trailer, we were planning day trips to towns and attractions in the vicinity of Anchorage. One Saturday in June, we ventured to Girdwood. Girdwood is a short drive along the scenic Cook Inlet from Anchorage and is a popular destination in both winter and summer.

When we arrived in Girdwood, we decided to explore the historic and remote Crow Creek Mine. Located in the Chugach National Forest and located about three miles down a rugged dirt road, the Mine is an amazing time capsule that happens to also be a National Historic Site. I hadn’t done much research about the place before we went. Truth be told, I was reading a pamphlet from the Chamber of Commerce that day, and we spontaneously decided to check it out.

My children were interested in the very exciting prospect of actually panning for and finding GOLD. Gold hadn’t reached it’s peak at that time but, as I recall, it was climbing towards $600 an ounce. Locals were getting excited about the price increase, and gold was once again becoming a hot commodity with serious and amateur gold diggers. With little delay, we reversed the car and headed down that rocky bumpy road.

Once a mining camp, the Mine dates to 1898 and, indeed, nothing has changed. The current owners still live on site with no running water or electricity. Many of the buildings stand exactly as they did more than one hundred years ago. We didn’t have any mining supplies with us, but that wasn’t an issue, because they can be rented and work quite well. Once we ambled along a path and past the historic buildings, we found the stream and followed the technique graciously demonstrated to us when we arrived.

Crow Creek Gold Mine, AlaskaThe whole experience was very low key, and we were careful to watch for bears as we ambled along the creek. Indeed, my son found a small speck of gold. Great excitement ensued, and when we went back to the mine we had it weighed. Value of the nugget? About 50 cents as I recall.

It was getting late by the time we left, and we decided to stop for dinner at one of Girdwood’s most acclaimed restaurants….The Double Musky Inn.

The place is notorious for its Cajun cuisine and for the long line of diners waiting to get in each night. The big line hadn’t yet formed so we took our place and waited for the restaurant to open. We weren’t worried about our casual slightly mucky attire because, after all, this was Alaska.

We were promptly seated at 5 pm, and the place filled to capacity within minutes. I ordered the crab stuffed halibut. It was enormous. It was moist. It tasted clean and fresh. And, yes, it was as good as gold.

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