Apparently my previous post was too somber, too morose, a bit of a downer for some. In case you didn’t read it, the topic was about change.
Since I gave you change last week, I will give you Hope this week…Hope, Alaska that is!
Jane and I had unexpected time on our hands last summer. As you know, tourism was down in Alaska, way down. So instead of doing nothing, we took the opportunity to explore our own backyard.
One of our visits was to Hope, Alaska. The village of Hope is situated half way between Anchorage and Kenai. It is often overlooked because it’s located at the end of a 17 mile spur highway off of the heavily traveled Seward Highway. In other words, you don’t drive through Hope, you have to drive to Hope.
The 17 mile highway to Hope hugs the Turnagain Arm coast line. Panoramic views of the ocean, and snow capped mountains are aplenty. And, at the end of the highway you will find Hope (no pun intended). It’s a blend of old and new, that 192 people call home.
How did Hope come to be? Like a lot of communities in Alaska and the Yukon, the story begins with gold. In 1895, gold was discovered in Hope. Secrets like that do not last long and within a year 3,000 people arrived in Hope to find their fortune. The boomtown ended when the gold extraction declined and the Klondike Gold Rush erupted in 1898.
This wasn’t my first visit to Hope. More than twenty years ago I had an urge to see what was at the end of the highway. For Jane, this was her first introduction to Hope. We both agreed, if we have another quiet summer, we’re going to bring our camper and spend a couple of days hiking the area trails.
I’ll end this post with this observation. Not all people on the Kenai Peninsula are friendly to visitors. However, when you see a sign like this in the center of town, you know the residents of Hope are happy to see you.