Welcome to Tazlina SW Subdivision where the secondary roads are muskeg trails hardly discernable from the paths large animals like moose and this friendly black bear use to find their favorite feeding grounds and watering holes.
This is the toll-bridge on Main Street: Two large 12’ logs joined in assembly with ancient planks, old plywood boards, and junk car body parts to form the makeshift bridge spanning Yetna Creek. "My parcel is over there," I say looking southwest. "Only 400-yards away."
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) map their Public Information Center (PIC) made available on its website (for over-the-counter land sales) led me to believe that Otter Avenue, Muskrat Lane and the other so-called subdivision streets might be lined with stately evergreen trees shading traditional Alaska buildings of spruce, corrugated steel, birch bark and mud construction -- like the backcountry dwellings in my Lonely Planet guidebook -- but what I see as evergreen needle-filtered light fills rut after rut of tire tracks left behind by Alaska State Fish & Game Troopers with their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) is the backdrop of sunset upon a marsh of infinite black spruce, birch and willow tree trunks and branches upon my arrival at LOT 1, BLOCK 2 of Tazlina SW Subdivision, Alaska: “According to my GPS device I am home!"
Night noises are virtually nonexistent save for the odd distant howling of coyotes and wolves, and the reassuring barks of old Sourdough Joe’s big mastiff one-half mile away at his impressive wooden A-frame cabin sitting on that large, fish-stocked pond I spied on the way here to this future retreat of mine. "This is the northwest tip of ADL204516." I tell myself, "Good. This site is already level and clear for my small cabin. It’s everything I thought it would be.”
Entering the exact area Alaska DNR surveyors used back in 1979 and 1980 to create the physical boundaries for my subdivision I feel half-gold prospector, half-runaway slave; but decide instead to wear the imaginary garb of a Russian Orthodox priest doing missionary work since history tells us holy-men were sent to build churches in the Alaska wilderness.
“And I have faith the people here will become converts in thinking American Negroes don’t all belong in inner-city ghettoes.” This I pray before suffixing a final thought: "Yeah, right. And stone monuments will be erected to immortalize the first nigger to settle this place."