Friday, July 26, 2013

Tom's Cabin Hike

On the Nome-Teller Highway at about mile 7.5 there is a trail to a place called Tom's Cabin that our church with family and friends like to go to annually as our Pioneer hike that is 3 miles in and 3 miles out.  You can hike or take a 4 wheeler to it in the summer.  Some individuals even take their trucks or jeeps out there.  Beware that there are a lot of muddy wet spots to get stuck in.
So we walked...

 and walked...

 and walked...

Beautiful Irises everywhere

And then you get to this little stream with some mini bridges that were built to help you cross over.

Yay!  After 3 miles we finally arrive.

Time to roast some dogs and cook up tin foil dinners

ground beef, corn, potatoes, carrots, cream of mushroom soup... so good.


Every year I make a large pot of blueberry cobbler.  It's a huge hit with the rest of the crew.


Large cast iron dutch oven with layers tin foil and in between layers of tin foil are cabbage leaves to help prevent cobbler from burning.  2 pkgs yellow cake mix, large can of peaches with juice,  two cups of fresh blueberries picked off the tundra, A stick of butter cut up into quarters, and some diet soda or juice to thin it down a little.  Cover and bake in hot coals.

Here I am at Tom's Cabin which is an old miner's cabin.  To the right of this picture is a steep drop off with a large mountain/hill starting at the drop off's base.  It is a beautiful view and I could only imagine what it would be like to live here back in the early 1900's.

Inside there is a bunk bed, small kitchen area, and wood stove.  Nothing too fancy but a great shelter especially in case of emergencies.  There is also a note book for visitors to write in.  You can read individuals adventures and experiences while staying at Tom's Cabin.
  For many years I have been hiking to "Tom's Cabin" and have been asked by others who is Tom?  I didn't know and neither did most Nome locals.  In the process of working on this post here is what I found:
Tom's Cabin is named after Tom Bartol.

Which then sparked my curiosity of, who is Tom Bartol?  Through the power of Facebook I was led to Betsy Brennan.  Here is what Betsy told me:

  • Tom was a KNOM radio station volunteer in the late 1980's.  I arrived and began volunteering at KNOM in Aug 1988, he was here and had been for at least a year. He was a nurse at Norton Sound Health Corporation, and donated his salary to KNOM. He was a great guy and very much into biking and hiking everywhere. He found the trail that leads out to "Tom's" cabin and found a fallen down old building - he thought it was a miners cabin from way back . There is also an old drill rig there. Anyhow, he was able to scrounge all the material to build it into a shelter cabin that summer of 1988. Many people donated wood from projects and that sort of thing. It was a labor of love for him - to have a place we KNOM volunteers could go to get away and see the beauty of the land. Some of us other KNOM volunteers and former volunteers who were still living in town helped haul stuff out there, but it was his project. He left a note book out there and we would always write in it when we went out for a hike or pick berries. In the mid to late 90's more people heard about it by word of mouth - and its a popular trail. Early 2000's, Les Brown (former KNOM volunteer and Engineer)did some repair work on it, made the out house, installed a new wood stove when the other one rusted out. By then it became a superhighway more than a trail. I think he would be really pleased that it is referred to as Tom's cabin today. He lives in New England with his wife and children now. After he left Nome, he went to work at a medical mission in Ghana, I believe, and a few other places. Hope that helps. -Betsy


 Here's the 2013 crew.  Now for the 3 mile hike back, argh!


  1. This is Tom here, of Tom's cabin from way back in 1988! Wow, hard to believe it is still standing, being used, and still bears my name. I remember many fond visits out there. I think last time I was out there was in the late 1990's. Hope to get out for a visit someday with my two sons.

    1. Hi Tom, thanks for the response. Sorry I didn't see this sooner. I thought about this post as we are headed to our annual trek to "Tom's Cabin" in a few weeks. Thanks for your work- Kim

  2. Cool post, cool pictures and thanks for the recipe. Me and my grand kids are going to have your poor boy wraps for our camping dinner tonight.