I think the most adventurous part of our journey to Alaska aside from my operations and visits to hospitals was our departure and trip back to Whitehorse by way of the Taylor Highway over the top of the World highway through Dawson City.
Chicken, Alaska our first stop on the Taylor Highway which goes 160 miles from Tetlin Junction just south of Tok to Eagle, AK. is 66 miles past Tetlin Junction. The hard top road ends at about mile 62 and doesn't pick up again until the US Canadian Border at Boundary some 43 miles later.
Chicken was and still is a gold mining town in what is known as the Forty Mile River district. There are about 200 people in the summer and eight in the winter. The Postmistress who we met, her husband and two children, a retired marine who makes the greatest sticky buns at the Chicken Creek Cafe and three others.We met two young guys from New Jersey having dinner in down town Chicken. I took a picture of their trailer before I remembered we had met them before in Fairbanks.
The first inhabitants of Chicken wanted to name the town for the Ptarmigan
which is common in the area and now the State bird but nobody could spell ptarmigan so they named the town Chicken. (In the Winter the Ptarmigan's feathers all turn white to blend in with the snow)
Most of the 200 summer residents are involved with serious placer gold mining. The others operate the tree mercantile and tourist attractions in the area. Two Campgrounds, Two Restaurants, three gift stores, two gas stations, a saloon and no telephones. Just to give you an idea of the seriousness of their endeavors the owner of the Gold Panner campground and gift store is a retired Anesthesiologist who is helping his son a mining engineer extract gold from the ground. When I asked if it was a serious endeavor the anesthesiologist who came from Brooklyn and graduated Fordham University in the Bronx responded in an acid voice that his son didn't go to college to be on welfare.The rest of our conversation was more pleasant.
We camped at the Gold Dredge Camp ground under the Pedro Gold Dredge, We had sticky buns and Apple pie with vanilla ice cream at the Chicken Creek Cafe. We bought gas at Down Town Chicken and the lady from the Gold Panner took us on a tour of the original town site made famous by a young teacher in the Alaskan wilderness. Ann Hobbs whose story as told to Robert Specht was printed in a book called Tisha. The children couldn't pronounce teacher so they called her Tisha. She arrived in 1927 and spent a lifetime, marrying and eventually adopting 5 native alaskan children.
Several cabins and a work shed
One room school house and teachers residence.
Chicken Public Roadhouse