A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 5°/21°/Partly sunny
On and off the road system, Alaska is dotted with cities, towns and villages that give the state its real character.
Luck struck around 6:30 a.m. Sunday -- less than nine hours before the end of the 10-day Slam'n Salm'n derby -- when Robert Hayes hooked a 40.97-pound king salmon that made him the winner.
Summer solstice marked the beginning of the warm season last week, but two Anchorage fly-fishermen discovered Monday morning that winter still lingers deep in the Chugach Mountains.
The Kasilof beach is cool and calm at 10 a.m. on Monday as Yolanda Thomas emerges from her family-sized tent for a morning of dipnetting on the shore of the Kasilof River.
Lakeside community began as roadhouse
Paxson lies along Paxson Lake at Mile 185 of the Richardson Highway, at its intersection with the Denali Highway.
Paxson, which has about 40 residents, is 81 miles south of Delta Junction and 62 miles north of Gulkana.
January temperatures average from minus 22 to minus 2; July temperatures average 50 to 72. Annual precipitation is 11.3 inches.
The Denali Highway also provides access to the Tangle Lakes Recreation Area and the MacLaren River. Summit Lake is north of town. Fishing, hiking, birding and canoeing on the Tangle and Delta rivers are popular activities in the summer. Hunting is often good for caribou. Winter sports include snowmachining, especially the Arctic Man snowmachine festival.
The primary residents of Paxson are state highway maintenance personnel and their families.
There are five lodges with restaurants and bars in the area, several gift shops, a post office, gas station, grocery store and bunk house. This area has been a testing site for snowmachine companies for the past several years. Most income is generated during the summer months. One resident holds a commercial fishing permit. Hunting and other subsistence activities contribute to their livelihoods.
Paxson Lodge owns and maintains a 2,800-foot gravel airstrip, and floatplanes can land at Summit Lake. The Richardson Highway provides access to Anchorage or Fairbanks. The Denali Highway provides summer access to Cantwell and Denali National Park.
More than 400 archeological sites indicate that this area has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years. In 1906 Alvin Paxson established the Timberline Roadhouse at Mile 192 of the Richardson Highway, consisting of a small cabin for a kitchen and two tents for bunkhouses. His cook, Charles Meier, later started Meier's Roadhouse at Mile 174. Paxson then built a two-story roadhouse at Mile 191. He later added a barn with a drying room, pump and sleeping quarters, two rooms and a bath. A post office, store, wood house and small ice room followed.
The Denali Highway was built in the 1950s from Paxson to Cantwell and the Denali National Park. The 160-mile gravel road (now it's 135 miles) was the only access into the park before the construction of the George Parks Highway.
Source: Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development