I’m putting together the first volunteer letter for the folks who are planning on making the trip out to Cape Decision this July. It’s the usual sort of “Welcome to the Resort” kind of missive, with info on the airport, jetboat schedule and lodging in Wrangell. That’s the big change this year, the lodging in Wrangell.
For years, the Wrangell Hostel was the place to stay on the cheap. Twenty bucks a night, twenty-five the last couple of years, would get you an inflatable mattress, maybe a cot, in a room with two or three other travelers. Then, just as likely, you could have the room to yourself. The hostel was in the Presbyterian church, which didn’t get a lot of use anymore, and the rooms where we’d stay were the old Sunday school rooms, with kid’s posters of Jesus and pandas and Veggie Tales on the walls. We’d sort items for the lighthouse out in the picnic shelter, discreetly drinking bottles of Alaska IPA as we packed personal and group gear into drybags and backpacks. It was a place short on comfort but long on funk, and honestly, it was comfortable enough.
Nancy was the old woman who kept it all together, kept up on who was sleeping in what room, who still owed for lodging and laundry. Nancy knew where to take the food that we brought back with us from the lighthouse at the end of each summer, which families in the local area could use the cheese and the bread, and whatever else we had left. Nancy’s not there anymore, however, and neither is the hostel. She’s gone for good and the church isn’t a sleeping option from here on. Probably ought to check into air b’n’b options, maybe make a deal. The Stikine Inn, the main hotel in town, is almost $200/night and while I don’t begrudge them the money, they are clearly looking to a different demographic.
In a related story, the City campground is still free.