(Mis)Adventures in Nome

I have had a pretty wild month and I'm sorry I did not write about my travels in Nome earlier. It's been so long since that trip that my review of Nome will be more a collection of pointers for future Nome-bound travelers rather then my normal adventure journal format. 

Where is Nome? It is in the Seward peninsula bordered by the Bering sea. It is only accessible by plane or boat. 

Where is Nome? It is in the Seward peninsula bordered by the Bering sea. It is only accessible by plane or boat. 

The most important thing to know about Nome is that there are exactly three roads out of Nome and you can do each in a day. When first arriving in Nome don't try to find a map at a normal place one buys maps (i.e. grocery stores, gas stations) but instead go to the Nome Visitor Center on the main drag. There may or may not be a person there and if not they may or may not come back that day, but if you do catch it when it's open buy the Wildlife Viewing guide for $10 and you will have everything you need for your Nome adventure. Each of the three roads are around 80 miles long and this wildlife viewing guide has sufficient maps and will list mile marker highlights and fun facts.  And I love fun facts.

There is only one place in Nome to get a rental car and it is this place: Stampede. Just click on that link because words will not do it justice. The rental cars are all $130 a day and although I wasn't thrilled to be paying so much for a rental car I will say that I got a sweet 2016 Ford Explorer for the trip. To save money I just slept in my vehicle every night off one of the highways, and this also helped justifying the expense. Speaking of expensive things you know those gallon jugs of water you can buy for $0.89? Well, a gallon of water from the store in Nome was $5. Here's a local's trick - on two of the highways there are spots with potable water that the residents use to fill up their jugs. So, in theory, you could buy one jug of water and fill it up on the road as need be. Also, because my time in Alaska was winding down by the time I flew to Nome I filled any extra space in by suitcase with some of the food I had stored up to this point, which was good because like bottled water, food was very expensive. It would have been nice to support the local economy more but everything was very expensive, so between living out of the my car and having brought most of my food, I was able to do Nome relatively cheaply. 

Hey there Musk ox. You should now google "baby musk ox" - Your life will be better for it. 

What's That emerging from the fog in the middle of nowhere? oh just a 100 year old abandoned train. 

I know I talked about McCarthy being weird (in a good way) but, man, Nome is weird (also in a good way). On multiple occasions I thought I was in a different country. Nome is pretty isolated as is but because I was spending all my time alone out on those highways it just felt like another world sometimes. Also, Nome has a long history in mining and every now and then emerging from the fog was some eerily abandoned mining equipment. I had crazy awful weather the entire time I was out there - dense fog, cold, windy, rainy - so much so that I changed my ticket to leave early. The wildlife was cool (Musk Oxen are so great and I hear Nome is a birder's paradise), the nature was rugged and beautiful (when I could see it through the fog), and I found all of the Micranthes I needed to find. But, three days was enough. That said, I'd recommend if you ever get a chance to go to Nome, definitely go. But write me first and I'll give you some pointers.

I know you have been waiting because I sure have. This is the infamous Micranthes nudicaulis. In all of the world it only grows outside of nome and directly across the bering sea in Russia. And it is just so pretty.