The drone of the small aircraft’s engine had me hypnotized as we flew farther into the Alaskan bush. I had seen the great beauty of the Brooks Range on other flights, but this one was a little different. We were on our way to live in a cabin deep in the remote area of Alaska to mine for gold.
As the sight of two little log cabins came into view, the pilot asked, “Are you sure you want to do this? I can turn this plane around and take you back to Fairbanks. It just seems a little too risky to be taking this little baby so far from civilization.” I had already heard this concern from many people, and I was beginning to think they may be right, but my husband was waiting for our arrival down there in one of those cabins. A little unsure of my decision, I gave the pilot a nod to go ahead and land on the tiny little airstrip beside the cabins.
Gold, that bright, shiny, elusive metal that men have longed-for centuries to find. This was the reason we were here. Daily, we dug and dredged the hillside hoping to capture these little nuggets in our sluice box. It was an incredible feeling to look at the gold glistening in the riffles of the box, at the end of the day.
There may not be anything more exciting than seeing a bucket full of gold, but it will never surpass seeing a friend's plane land on our airstrip. After two long months of no one other than my husband, and daughter to talk to, this was like finding the mother load of all gold.
He brought fresh vegetables, fruit, newspaper, magazines, candy, and three huge t-bone steaks. This fresh food alone was worth all the gold we had mined. The magazines were like a million Christmas presents all in one giant package, but to have a new person to talk to was the best treat of all.
As he loaded his plane the next day preparing to leave, I felt like climbing in with him, but still I stayed.
One month later, on a lovely fall day, I heard wolves howling close to the cabin. A little concerned, I opened the door, and in charged a huge grey wolf. I grabbed my daughter up and started yelling. This old wolf was not afraid of my yelling. He laid his ears back, and the hair on his spine was raised, like an angry dog. I threw my baby into her crib and slowly reached for the gun that was hung above my head. I yelled and flapped my arms in hope of his backing off. He slowly crept forward, and bared his teeth. I shot, and the wolf laid dead in my sweet little cabin in the Alaskan bush.
That was when I decided all those people had been right with their advice. This was not a good place to raise a child.