Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program
Louis "Packy" Dick

Packy Dick was interviewed on August 5, 2010 by Rachel Mason, Karen Brewster and Shannon Kovac in his home in Seward, Alaska. In this interview, Packy talks about how he got his nickname, growing up in Seward, the effect of the military and how Seward has changed, the 1964 Earthquake, building the Lost Lake Trail, and hunting and changes in the wildlife population. He talks about snowmachining in the Exit Glacier area, the snowmachine tour operation on Exit Glacier, his snowmachine getting buried by heavy snow on the glacier, and building of the road and bridge to the glacier.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2010-05-08

Project: Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park
Date of Interview: Aug 5, 2010
Narrator(s): Louis "Packy" Dick
Interviewer(s): Rachel Mason, Shannon Kovac, Rachel Mason
Transcriber: Carol McCue
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

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Getting the nickname "Packy"

Personal and family background and coming to Seward, Alaska

Growing up in Seward

1964 Earthquake

Work history

Lose of his snowmachine with the tour operation on Harding Icefield

Transporting his snowmachine by airplane up to the ice field

Snowmachining on the ice field

The friends he snowmachined with

Building the Lost Lake Trail

Towing skiers up hills behind the snowmachine

Ptarmigan and duck hunting

Going up the Resurrection River valley by Jeep

Moose, bear and goat hunting

Changes in animal populations


Popularization of the Lost Lake Trail

Trail use regulations

Snowmachining to Cooper Landing via Lost Lake Trail and Kenai Lake

Effects of the establishment of Kenai Fjords National Park

Snowmachining in the Resurrection River valley

Buying his first snowmachine

Changes in Seward

Exit Glacier Road

Changes in Exit Glacier

Local reaction to construction of Exit Glacier Road

Helping to build the final bridge across Resurrection River to Exit Glacier

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KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. I'm Karen Brewster, and today is August 5th, 2010, here in Seward, Alaska, with Louis "Packy" Dick, at his home.

I'm also joined by Shannon Kovac and Rachel Mason for the National Park Service traditional use of Exit Glacier project. So do you mind if I call you Packy?

PACKY DICK: No. That's my name.

KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. Well, why don't we start with how did you get that name?

PACKY DICK: It was given to me by my -- my sister. My mom called me a pack rat because I carried everything when I was little; and when I got older, why, the sister couldn't say it, so it sounded like Packy, so I ended up being Packy.

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh huh. And everybody just kept calling you that.

PACKY DICK: Yeah, all through high school, and even still today.

RACHEL MASON: I can imagine that, seeing the evidence of pack rat. A little evidence.

PACKY DICK: Can you run that thing outside? RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, just to start us, before we start talking about Exit Glacier, I just want to ask you a little bit about yourself. When and where you were born?

PACKY DICK: Oh. I was born in Portland, Oregon. I come up here on a -- I think it was the Yukon -- no, the Alaskan for a two week visit, to visit my dad. He was working up here during the war, been here ever since.

KAREN BREWSTER: And what was your dad doing?

PACKY DICK: Oh, he was working the marine ways, when they had all those power scows and stuff running down the -- during the war, feeding the troops out on the Chain. Well, they were repairing them.

Yeah, keeping them running, that's where he worked. He was at the Bonneville Dam, he was drilling, and I think he only made 3 bucks a day or something, and he come up here and they were giving him $3.15 cents an hour and room and board. Yeah. Yeah, he -- come on up.

KAREN BREWSTER: Was that for the military he worked or was --

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah, the 420 Area was here, the military was in Seward.

KAREN BREWSTER: And he was based here in Seward?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. As an employee. I mean, he was just a civilian when he got this job, working at the marine ways.

KAREN BREWSTER: And so how old were you when you came up here?

PACKY DICK: I don't know. Two and a half, three years old. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So he brought the whole family?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Me and my sister came up, and my mom. And then my brother was born here. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum. PACKY DICK: So...

KAREN BREWSTER: So what was it like growing up in Seward?

PACKY DICK: Good. It was an Army town. A lot of people in town, a lot of them military, you know. And we lived right down in the military area.

And we'd just go over to there, and I would, jump one of the trucks, and they'd run me all over, you know, ride with them all day long.

Yeah, it was a -- it was a good go. Then all of a sudden one day they just brought troop ships in and everybody left.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because the war ended?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. I think that's what it was. It was all about. They just packed up and left and all the military stuff was here, all the barrackses, the Quonset hut, Fort Raymond, you know, was just loaded up and it was gone.

And town kind of quieted down, but then it was a main shipping hub. All the freighters come in, the railroad's shipping everything to Fairbanks north, you know, and a lot of longshoremen.

A lot of longshoremen. A hundred guys a ship, you know. It was -- it was good times. It was good. Then the earthquake come along and put a stop to all that.

Docks were all gone, and the shippers found better ways of doing stuff than coming through here, you know, and it just went downhill from there. Well, not downhill, but I mean slowed down.

RACHEL MASON: Were you here when the earthquake happened? PACKY DICK: Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.

RACHEL MASON: What -- what were you doing when it happened?

PACKY DICK: Well, have you been in town, you seen that building out there at the head of the bay, that old radio station? KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum.

PACKY DICK: I was out there KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. PACKY DICK: -- visiting some friends. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

PACKY DICK: Joe Lemas. I was sitting in his kitchen and we were talking, and the house started to go, stove took off from the wall, and we got hot towels, and put the stove back, put the chimney up, then the front window fell out of it, and we said, we've got to get out of here.

And that's when we -- it was a good ride into town. The bridges would raise up, and the road would go down. And I had an old '52 Chevy pickup, stuck me down in the ditch, the ditch came up, went back on, the bridge is lined up, and that's how I got to town.


PACKY DICK: Yeah. Come by the airport and all the ground, just like an ocean, you know. And all the hangars fell down, and the ground would open up, slam together, and the mud would -- the old '52 just kept running.

KAREN BREWSTER: So all that was -- the ground was still moving and shaking as you were driving?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Really bad. It really got going.

KAREN BREWSTER: Wow. You think of an earthquake, like it just shakes and then it stops.

PACKY DICK: Oh, no, just waves. The mud flats were just like the ocean, just waves. Yeah.

And I looked -- I lived over on Seventh Avenue, right in front of Standard Oil, and it blew up. And the way it looked from across the bay, it didn't stop until it was Fourth Avenue in there, and that's where the wife and kids were.

Drove down there and it was just a hot fire. They were gone. Yeah. Run in the house and you could -- the spaghetti sauce was all over the floor, and you could see the little tracks where the guys run out the back door and took off. And yeah. It was quite a deal.

KAREN BREWSTER: So did you lose that house? Did it --

PACKY DICK: No. Didn't even melt the snow in the front yard.


PACKY DICK: Yeah. And Amanda Peterson lived next door, and didn't even melt the snow there either. Because when it blew up, it all run down in the bay, all the oil did. And the whole bay was burning. Oh, it was a mess.

KAREN BREWSTER: Now, how did you find your wife and kids?

PACKY DICK: Oh, they went -- how did that happen. How did I find them back? They were over at -- oh, they went in with Richard Mattson, a good friend of mine.

Phyllis, my first wife, was babysitting and they got in with him. I'm up on top, you know them houses up on top of the lagoon, you see all them fancy houses?

Well, that was just rock. There was nobody living there. I was up there watching. And here that Mattson comes down across Fourth -- Third Avenue, drives across the lagoon, and the wave and the junk's coming right on him, and he just drives across, nonchalant, going out of town with the kids.

KAREN BREWSTER: And where did they end up?

PACKY DICK: Oh, at Clearview. That's where he had a house out there and they went out there. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: That was high enough ground?

PACKY DICK: Uh hum. They were high enough ground. Everything was fine.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did you see the tsunami come in?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, three or four times. Yeah.


PACKY DICK: Radio tower sit there, as the ground's working, you know, and you've got the guy wires, and it would lean, lean. Finally, it just went around and down it went.

But here comes the tsunami. And there was -- let's see, who was in that truck. Oh. Jimmy Hoven (phonetic) and -- oh, let's see, who was out there. Wynn Corbin (phonetic).

I forget who -- oh, and Mike Osmonovich, they were all in this truck. And the wave got them.

And Mike and Jimmy went out the bay, went underneath the railroad tracks, went out the bay, and got out at the head of the bay and the water went out.

And Jimmy ran all the way back, but Mike went over off into the deep part of it.

And Corbin, he got washed up against the beach there in the lagoon. Oh, yeah, it was quite a night of adventure.

KAREN BREWSTER: It sounds like it.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. And it just rocked and rolled there for two or three days. And it started settling down.

KAREN BREWSTER: So did -- when did you move back into your house down on Seventh?

PACKY DICK: Oh, that was -- they wouldn't -- oh, probably a couple weeks later. I stayed out there at Ray Tressler's, and my wife and kids, they were over at the Jones's, Reison (phonetic).

They took care of them, you know, while everybody was running around cleaning roads and trying to get people fed, and you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Everybody took care of everybody else?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Military moved in, and National Guard, and they fed them up at the school. And everything went good.

Yeah. Everything was -- I remember old Lloyd Hammond, he was up there at the old Jessie Lee Home telling everybody, the water's not going to come up here.

Everything's cool, just stay right here. And if it does, just run right up this road and go to that mountain.

That's when the whole front of the mountain fell off, right after he got through telling these people, that's the safe place to go up at Jab Creek. Yeah. And it did. The point fell off and a big clatter of rock and dust.

KAREN BREWSTER: Were there people up there? PACKY DICK: No, no, no.

KAREN BREWSTER: They hadn't taken his advice?

PACKY DICK: No, no. He was just trying to assure them, this was a safe way to go. It wasn't.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. So what kind of work have you done in your life?

PACKY DICK: Oh, let's see. What did I first start -- started doing? Oh, it was longshoring when I was going to high school.

My dad was a bookman and he could get me on the docks, so I'd longshoring and go to school, and longshore at night.

And quit longshoring. What did I do? Oh, I went logging. Went to work for Kenai Lumber Company. No, it wasn't Kenai.

That was the second place. It was Mattson's up Fourth of July Creek, he had a little mill up there and I went to work for him, and then he went broke, and so then I went to Kenai, and worked there for, I don't know, six, seven years.

Then the earthquake come along. Then I went 302, Operating Engineer. And that's where I stayed until I retired.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that's equipment -- heavy equipment operating?

PACKY DICK: Uh hum. Built docks all over Alaska. We built the dock in Seward. The Seward fishery dock and the small boat harbor docks, and you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: You mean like ferry docks down in Southeast, things like that?

PACKY DICK: No, we didn't -- they went down to Klawock. No, I didn't go down there. No, I just mostly up here.

Worked in the Inlet, running derrick crane. And mechanic. Had a good time. I mean, it was a good -- it was a good life. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Finally decided to quit when it wasn't fun no more.

KAREN BREWSTER: And when was that?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, I don't know. I must have had -- MRS. DICK: '91. KAREN BREWSTER: '91?

PACKY DICK: '91, finally retired. Then it's just been play. I work for her .

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that's good if it's play.

PACKY DICK: Uh hum. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So why don't you tell us a little bit about your experiences up in the Exit Glacier. We know you were a snow machiner.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. We went everyplace.

KAREN BREWSTER: So we've heard this story about something about your snow machine up on the ice field. Is that -- what's that all about?

PACKY DICK: Well -- They flew it in. They were going to have a -- they put a cabin in up there or something, and then they were going to take people out, you know, tourists.

Sounded like a good idea, so I donated my wife's snow machine.

And Joe flew it up there and we went up and rode quite a few times. Me and Bill Rickard, he was a snow machine dealer and good friend, and we rode there, I don't know, quite a few times.

And then the snow got it and then the snow -- it started snowing so hard that it buried the machine, buried the tent, and then Joe said he couldn't find nothing, so that was the end of it, until you guys finally -- until it finally thawed out, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. That was Joe Stanton, right?

PACKY DICK: Uh hum. And then those snow machines showed up. So its probably still up there, or someplace.

KAREN BREWSTER: Someplace, huh. PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's pretty amazing that it could snow that much in one season to cover it.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. My kid was up there this year. I guess a bunch of snow machiners took up. You know, with these new machines, they don't -- they're not like ours.

I still got one of ours out here, a little slick track thing. I don't know how we went as many places as they do, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: So was it an Elan or something?

PACKY DICK: Yeah, I had an Elan with a 35 T and T in it. Put a long track, an alpine track, underneath it, and it was just light as a feather and could go anyplace. But now these guys got horsepower, big tracks, ride much better.

RACHEL MASON: Can you show us where your -- approximately where you were, what --

PACKY DICK: Well, you know, wherever the cabin was at.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know where that cabin might have been up there?

PACKY DICK: No, I haven't got a clue. This where it dumped out? It must have been up in here someplace. I don't know where it was.

RACHEL MASON: You can mark it there.

PACKY DICK: I haven't got a clue where it was. Joe just landed up there, and there was -- wherever that stuff is that you guys found, you know, when the snow melted. Yeah, that's where it was at.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's where it was. Do you know where it was, Shannon?

PACKY DICK: Is that right in there? Here's --

SHANNON KOVAC: I think it's pretty close to the -- to the boundary line. PACKY DICK: Oh, was it?

SHANNON KOVAC: It is now. It's been moving. PACKY DICK: Oh.

KAREN BREWSTER: So the cabin and stuff have moved? PACKY DICK: Oh.

SHANNON KOVAC: Yeah. It's over in here, I think. RACHEL MASON: Is it because of melting of the glacier? Or -- KAREN BREWSTER: Just the glacier -- the glacier moves.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, it took off and moved, huh?

KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum. So where did you think it was, Shannon?

SHANNON KOVAC: I think it's up here, right in here somewhere.

PACKY DICK: I haven't got a clue where it was.

SHANNON KOVAC: If you want to know, I can get you a map. If you're interested.

KAREN BREWSTER: If you want to go up and look?

PACKY DICK: No, I won't go up and look. I'd like to have a picture, though, of that. Of what's left.

SHANNON KOVAC: I can do that.

RACHEL MASON: When was that, about? Do you know what year it was?

PACKY DICK: No, I don't remember.

KAREN BREWSTER: Was that in, like, the '70s, when people were first using machines?

PACKY DICK: Probably. Yeah. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Remember, what kind of --

PACKY DICK: Because I had them little twelve threes and stuff, you know. We didn't have -- yeah, we had them little old twelve threes. They wouldn't -- no big machines back then. We had a 15 horse. Olympic.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what kind of machine was it that was lost? PACKY DICK: Ski Doo. KAREN BREWSTER: It was a Ski Doo? PACKY DICK: Uh hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: Before Tundras? PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Before Tundras. Tundra was an elaborate Ski Doo. You know. They were nice. Air cooled. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how come you flew it up instead of driving it up?

PACKY DICK: Well, that thing wouldn't -- we'd have had to carry it up there. You know. Because heck, the tracks are smooth, there's very little ribbing on them.

You know, these guys got cleats now. We didn't have nothing on them. We just went.

Oh, and it was easier just to throw it in the airplane, fly it up there and drag it out and fire it up and go play. You know.

KAREN BREWSTER: What kind of plane did Joe use to get it up there?

PACKY DICK: I think he had a 180 on floats.

KAREN BREWSTER: It was on floats -- how do you land on floats on a -- on snow?

PACKY DICK: On snow. Set it down. It just slides.


PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. That's what I was saying, when we load it in the boat harbor, it was low because it was setting down in the water.

And when you land on the snow, it's high, because its floats are that thick -- KAREN BREWSTER: Right. PACKY DICK: -- and then the legs. Yeah. It's up there.

KAREN BREWSTER: So how did you get the snow machine out?

PACKY DICK: Enough guys. Yeah, enough guys can get it out. Yeah. That worked good.

RACHEL MASON: The trick would be to take off again from the snow.

PACKY DICK: Oh, no. No problem. RACHEL MASON: It's not so hard?

PACKY DICK: No. Just slides and away it goes, and slides on it good, it runs on -- you know, really good. RACHEL MASON: Hmm.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I think the weight of a snow machine in a small plane like that would be tricky.

PACKY DICK: Nah. No. There ain't no weight. 300 pounds, a couple of guys.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I guess, yeah, those are lighter machines than nowadays.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. These things they got now, why, yeah, it would have been interesting. Getting it in the plane even. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: But back then, why, they didn't weigh nothing, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember how far around you went snow machining around?

PACKY DICK: No. No. We'd just run every -- every direction we wanted to go. I didn't have any --

KAREN BREWSTER: Did you go up on the peaks or you stayed just in --

PACKY DICK: We just stayed down around the snow. It run all over. But there was -- yeah. It just -- we didn't -- wherever it was smooth, because it was so rough, ice and stuff, it was so rough, and cracks in the snow -- KAREN BREWSTER: The crevasses and --

PACKY DICK: -- but then you get back where the snow was, then it was good going.

KAREN BREWSTER: And could you snow machine up there all year, or what --

PACKY DICK: Oh, I imagine they could, but -- KAREN BREWSTER: -- time of year were you up there?

PACKY DICK: Gee, I don't remember what time of the year I was up there. Must have been in summertime because it was pretty nice weather. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. It didn't get dark, you know. But in the wintertime when we were working and you couldn't get up there anyhow because it was snowing so hard and the wind -- the weather is gone. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

PACKY DICK: And a lot of times we couldn't go because it would be nice down here, but it wouldn't be fit to be up there. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum.

PACKY DICK: Yeah, I think they took quite a few people up there.

KAREN BREWSTER: Were you ever up there when there were just kind of tourists around up there?

PACKY DICK: Huh um. No. No. I was working. Stanton.

RACHEL MASON: Was there a group of guys you'd go with?

PACKY DICK: What, snow machining? RACHEL MASON: Snow machining?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Always -- who would always go with us. Well, Bill Rickard, the guy who had the snow machine business, didn't take much to get him fired up.

You know, he'd go. Who else? Old John Pete and -- MRS. DICK: Lentz. PACKY DICK: Who? MRS. DICK: Lentz.

PACKY DICK: Oh, Bob -- yeah. Bill -- Bob Lentz. Who else. Don Lynch. The Peeds. Yeah, we'd -- just every -- Mark Moore. He was the outlaw. He had a Scorpion, everybody else had Ski Doos.

KAREN BREWSTER: What, Scorpion is another brand?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. Brand X. KAREN BREWSTER: I've never heard of it.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. They were a pretty good machine, but they -- you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Popular in the '70s or something?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. We had a pretty good -- and it didn't take nothing. I mean, pretty quick everybody in town had a snow machine.

Everybody was going to Lost Lake once they got that trail open, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: So tell me about that, making that trail to Lost Lake.

PACKY DICK: Well, that was -- Stanton come along with a brilliant plan because he flies, see, oh, yeah, you can ge

t up to the lake, all you've got to do is do this and do this. Whew. We snow machined -- I mean, snowshoe'ed back and forth, building trails, go a little ways, build a trail, and then it would snow, then you do, cut brush. You know.

Finally one day Joe went with us and we went up there, and we got up on top and we didn't know where to go, he said, just head on -- go over the top of the hill. So away we went and the race was on to see who could get on the lake first.

Oh. Ray Anderson was with us, and he had a Polaris. That was another brand X. Yeah, actually, he was the first guy to hit the lake, you know, with a -- with a snow machine.

And then once the people at night would see our lights up there running around from Seward, when we were going up and down the down trail, why, then, everybody started.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you first broke trail with snowshoes?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. You had to. Walk ahead and walk back and then run the machine up. Because these machines -- these machines they got now, they just fly right up there.

But the ones we had, why, sheesh. Carried them.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, how did you know where to go, to decide where the trail was going to go?

PACKY DICK: Well, we knew which direction we was going, and wherever we'd find a gully or something, we couldn't go there, we would go there, and then we'd go through the trees, you know, and just kept nitpicking until, hey, there it is.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did you have to cut trees down?

PACKY DICK: No. No. Just some limbs, you know, because the snow would bend them down, and -- no, we didn't have to cut no trees. All we did was knock down a bunch of limbs, and then the snow would land on our trail, you know, instead of making them dips. Yeah.

And pretty quick, then the next thing you had to do, you had to go out and come in from the other end, then you had to go over the top, go down to the lake, and then see who could climb the highest mountain, and oh, it was -- yeah.

It was quite a -- quite an adventure, you know. Alyeska come along. Brought some skiers in. I had a big Alpine.

And they wanted to get towed up the mountain so they could think about skiing, you know. Them guys went down off the face of that mountain with them skis, why, there ain't no way in the world.

Yeah, they thought it was really great, but then when they brought people in to go skiing, the weather changed on them.

It was blowing and snowing and fogged over, and it wasn't -- you know, it wasn't a thing you could count on.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what -- where's Lost Lake?

PACKY DICK: What are we doing. That's -- that's Bear Lake.

KAREN BREWSTER: There's Lost Lake.

PACKY DICK: There's Lost Lake. It would be over on this side up here.

KAREN BREWSTER: This is where they would have skied down?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. The high ridges, you know. Them guys, I tell you. I thought I could go anyplace with that snow machine them guys could go with that skis. Ha. No.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, skiing, you had to go -- it's easier going down.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, but I'd tow them up to the top with my Alpine, see, and then they would get off and ski down.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then you would have to go back around.

PACKY DICK: I'd go around, get them, and take them back up there. Man, they take off over that cliff, I thought the guy -- I don't -- I thought he didn't know where he was going.

He's standing on a little point down there about a hundred feet out. Yeah, it's good, come on. And he just jumped off and away he went. Sheesh.

Yeah, a lot of good ptarmigan hunting up there.

KAREN BREWSTER: Where would that be?

PACKY DICK: Oh, all along the lake, all along on this side, and all up and down in here. Yeah. It's all good bird hunting.

RACHEL MASON: What kind of hunting did you do in your early days here? PACKY DICK: Huh?

RACHEL MASON: What kind of hunting did you do? PACKY DICK: Oh, everything. Moose, bear, goats, it didn't matter. We'd just go hunting. Duck hunting.

KAREN BREWSTER: Where would you -- like, where would you go duck hunting? PACKY DICK: Out on the flats, in town, at the head of the bay.

KAREN BREWSTER: Out here on all these mud flats? PACKY DICK: Yeah. See this right here?

KAREN BREWSTER: Now, on that line? PACKY DICK: That mud flat. This is mud flats. KAREN BREWSTER: Right.

PACKY DICK: And this is a drop off. That water was, I betcha, was 40, 50, 60 feet below that mud flat when the tide went out -- KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, yeah.

PACKY DICK: -- the earthquake, and it turned around and brought the docks back, and it hit that and a big -- oh, it was quite an explosion. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did you ever go hunting up the Resurrection River valley up here?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's good moose hunting. Yeah. I've been in on a couple of deals where they took moose up there. That's where I found out my Jeep wouldn't float.

KAREN BREWSTER: Tell us about that.

PACKY DICK: Well, I tried to take it up there, naturally, like a guy would, and got prepared and put a tarp over the front, see, so that the water would go.

Well, that worked really good until one wheel hit a rock and grabbed the tarp, took the tarp off. Yeah, well, then, there you are.

KAREN BREWSTER: Water in the engine.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. So I had a winch on the back behind the seat so I could tow either way, take the chain off two pipe wrenches, and I winch that thing up on the bank.

And then the battery jumped out, hit the fan, so it was no power in it. Took the spark plugs out and started spinning this thing until the battery almost went, then I put one plug in trying to make it hit on one plug. Well, it didn't work.

Walked all the way to town, got another battery, come back out there, put this new battery in, and it didn't make contact, so I shorted out with a pair of pliers, blew it, end out of the battery.

Well, then I started it on two cylinders, but it wouldn't start on four cylinders. Ever tried a screw a spark plug in to a running engine?


PACKY DICK: Yeah, put it on a stick, a wire, you hold it down -- bang, bang, bang -- and you hook around, find the plug and put it back in there. I got it running. And we come on home.

KAREN BREWSTER: So where -- do you know, you were trying to cross the river?

PACKY DICK: Yeah, it was a -- up past Blackstone, or on the way to Blackstone.

KAREN BREWSTER: Where's Blackstone? This is Paradise. Is that --

PACKY DICK: No, that's the wrong direction. Where's Resurrection?

KAREN BREWSTER: This is the Resurrection River. Here's town. PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's Paradise, and then the next is Exit.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Well, it would be up where Blackstone was. There was a big point out here, and the water was really deep, but we was cross -- there was no roads, see.

And we was crossing this thing, and I got way up there, and that's where I lost it in the water. So we made better preparations next time.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what did you do next time?

PACKY DICK: Heck, we were driving in the water, and it was clean up on the windshield, the Jeep's down underneath and put a snorkel on it, put the canvas on it, and took it easy, and we'd float backwards and we'd go forward and it'd float again, and finally, we'd make it to the other side.

Yeah, when you're young, you're bulletproof. There's no problem, you're not going to -- nothing's going to happen, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: So all that was back before the road was there?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, long before that. I had a '47 Willy, that's what I was using.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's a Jeep? PACKY DICK: Uh hum.

KAREN BREWSTER: So what were you doing, you would try and go hunting up there or were you just doing this for fun?

PACKY DICK: No, we would just see how far up the canyon we could go. You know. And we were looking for moose, but we'd just see how far we could go.

KAREN BREWSTER: So did you get as far as the glacier?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. When going up the side, there's a mine or something up here on this side, we went past the glacier and on up to that old mine up there.

And, of course, then it's getting late, and -- how does that work now. I forget. At night -- at night the river goes down; in the daytime, it comes up.

Or in the daytime it goes down and the nighttime it comes up. Because it thaws in the daytime, and then at nighttime the water comes -- KAREN BREWSTER: Drops. Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. So you had to get out of there before, or unless you're gonna stay overnight.

KAREN BREWSTER: And this would be in, like, fall-time you were doing that or summer?

PACKY DICK: Uh hum. Yeah. Just any time you had the urge, let's go. Get in. Take the Jeep, let's go up there, maybe we'll get a black bear. Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: Did you ever get any moose around the area of the glacier or --

KAREN BREWSTER: You -- you said you went moose hunting. Do you remember where you might have gotten moose?

PACKY DICK: No. No. We've shot moose up there, but I don't remember what swamp it was, or what part it was.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. What about bear? You said you've been bear hunting?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. We got black bear. Box Canyon was a good place to go up in, where Seavey is. Box Canyon. Where's Box Canyon on this thing?

KAREN BREWSTER: It's where Seaveys are?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Where's Box Canyon? That was a good place to get -- maybe that's Box Canyon. It just runs in and stops and the water runs out.

KAREN BREWSTER: Here, it's one of these.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah, that was a good place to get bear. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

PACKY DICK: At Box Canyon. Or Lost Lake or --

KAREN BREWSTER: And this is black bear? PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: What about goats?

PACKY DICK: We went up on that mountain right behind -- what do they call that one, behind the Pit there? This one, I guess it is.

KAREN BREWSTER: Behind the Pit Bar?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. That would be it. That one right there. KAREN BREWSTER: Okay.

PACKY DICK: That -- that was a good place. I've gone up there quite a few times and got goat. Bill Burns, he was my goat hunter. Del Branson, he was another goat hunter.

The only thing wrong with going hunting with Del was he was six four, with strides that long, you know.

RACHEL MASON: And sheep hunting, did you ever do that?

PACKY DICK: No, I didn't go in for sheep. That was too much work.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, goat sounds like a lot of work.

PACKY DICK: Well, different, yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: How is it different?

PACKY DICK: Well, I don't know. Probably don't have to go as high. I don't know. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I don't know.

PACKY DICK: No, I never did get in on them sheep hunts. I just never did do that.

RACHEL MASON: Over the years that you've been hunting, have you noticed any changes in the populations of the animals? Are they -- are there fewer than there used to be of anything?

PACKY DICK: No. KAREN BREWSTER: Or are they in different places. RACHEL MASON: Yeah, or in different --

PACKY DICK: Well, naturally, people would run them out, you know. We used to have goat coming right off of Lost Lake, come down and go to Bear Lake, up through there.

They'd come across the road. When I was working there for Kenai Lumber, why, the -- you'd see the tracks in the road.

And then Irv Tressler, he lived right there, and then he'd say, yeah, a couple of goats come by here the other night, you know, making their way through.

But now there's so much population and stuff that they, you know, are going to find something else. That'll fix that.

RACHEL MASON: That's right.

PACKY DICK: Don't let her drive. RACHEL MASON: Sorry. yeah, really.

SHANNON KOVAC: She is driving.

KAREN BREWSTER: (Indiscernible.) Oh, I was thinking trapping, did you ever do any trapping?

PACKY DICK: No. No. My son in law, he was a trapper. Stanley Lemas, they were the trappers. I didn't -- that took too much effort, too much time. You know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you know where he went trapping?

PACKY DICK: Oh, I don't know, every creek around, why, him and Kimo Knighten, they would -- they'd be trapping on it. I can guarantee you that.

KAREN BREWSTER: And they were successful?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Young kids, heck, yeah. They were very successful. Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: What were they trapping? I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you --

PACKY DICK: Oh, I don't know. Anything that they could get in a trap, I imagine. I don't -- I don't know what they -- what they were trapping. Mink and stuff, I imagine.

MRS. DICK: Stanley got mink. KAREN BREWSTER: Mink? PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah, mink.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, that's pretty good. PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So once you made that trail to Lost Lake, how did it become now this big, popular trail?

PACKY DICK: Well, I don't know. Over the years, people just -- well, when they went in there at -- at Mile 18, that was an easier trail to get right to the lake.

You didn't have to start here and go all the way through the woods and to get to the lake. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum.

PACKY DICK: And boy, Kenai and Anchorage and all them, they just started showing up by the -- good place to go because the snow would be gone down here, and there'd be a lot of snow up there and you could still go snow machining, and the snow would land up there first before it really got down.

And then our friends come along and says, you can't go, you've got to stay -- from this day to this day, the trail is closed. But there's a lot of snow on it. Well, it don't matter. From this day to this day.

KAREN BREWSTER: So the Forest Service rules now about when you can access it?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Oh, yeah, they'd like to kick us out of everything. They don't want you -- they don't want you out there with a snow machine. Look at what they're doing at Crescent Lake.

They are shutting down. They're shutting Crescent down, too. You can't go in there, that's hikers, that's this, that's that. You can't go on this, you can't go there. Yeah. Don't even want you on Kenai Lake with a snow machine.

KAREN BREWSTER: Does Kenai Lake freeze? So you can get -- PACKY DICK: Oh, sure. KAREN BREWSTER: It's safe enough?

PACKY DICK: Heck, we've left right here in Seward and go up Lost Lake and go out the other end and go down to Sunrise and have lunch, and then -- and then big race back, you know, with a snow machine.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, how is that on the map? Where is Sun -- so here's Lost -- you'd go up to Lost Lake, and where did you go from there?

PACKY DICK: Well, go out this way, down to the trail, and then take off and go down here to Cooper Landing. It don't take long, either. Because this is where that trail come in. You know. Through the back door. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum.

PACKY DICK: And so we'd start here, go off across here, and then go down here, and then go on around, and go down to Cooper Landing and Sunrise and mess around, and then turn around and roar back.

KAREN BREWSTER: I can imagine you must have been a fast snow machiner.

PACKY DICK: Oh, they -- those guys, they had to -- mine didn't go. Mine would probably do 70 miles an hour. Heck, they'd go faster in reverse than I could go forward. But I didn't run out of gas.

RACHEL MASON: Well, when the Park was established, did that interfere with your snow machining -- PACKY DICK: Oh, yes. RACHEL MASON: -- mobility?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. They just shut you down. No, you can't go. We don't want you in there. Look at what you're doing to the trail. Oh you're doing this.

And then the skiers come along. Oh, this here, and you're -- you're noisy and you're ruining the pristine view, and with your tracks, and that was really nice, though, when we got in there to the pass, American Creek.

That big blizzard caught all them skiers. Who did they call on? Snow machiners. Come get us. Tow us out. We've got to get out of here. Well, sure. We can run on the trail then.

RACHEL MASON: When did that happen?

PACKY DICK: Oh, '80s, I guess. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So before the Park came in, did you used to snow machine up this valley towards the glacier?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we snow machined all over there. That was a lot of fun running that side.

Then we even did it out back here, go down to the bottom and run all of that, and then they said we couldn't do that. That's reserved for the skiers. Get out of here, you snow machiners, you're noisy and you're -- you know.

So then I think what they figured out was that if they turned it over to the skiers, well, then, they'd ban the snow machiners instead of just telling the snow machiners you can't, you know. And then they let oh that's ski area -- that's ski area.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you snow machine up the Resurrection River, which side of the river were you on? And did you go back and forth?

PACKY DICK: We always went on the right side up.

KAREN BREWSTER: It's the other side? Along the bluff here?

PACKY DICK: Yeah -- no, on the -- like going up the river, it would be on the right hand side, where all the -- RACHEL MASON: The east side. PACKY DICK: -- where the road is now.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, where the road is now.

PACKY DICK: Yeah, we'd travel up that side. But then we didn't have to cross it up here. You'd get past there and then you'd go up a little ways and it would be froze over then, the water would.

KAREN BREWSTER: Like past where the current bridge is?

PACKY DICK: Blackstone. Yeah. Yeah. Past where the current bridge is, and then you could get across. Or maybe you could find it down here someplace that it was crushed down, you know, where you'd go across.

KAREN BREWSTER: But getting across was always a --

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Once you run across, you broke it out, and there was water. But now there's no -- new snow machines, they just run on the water. They don't care. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: It seems like that was a really big problem getting the rising water on that run.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. It was. You had to -- pretty cold.

KAREN BREWSTER: It seems like you'd have to know what you're doing on a river like that PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: -- with all that open water.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. With a snow machine. Yeah. A lot of them lost their snow machine. I mean, you know, they'd run in and get stuck and drowned out the machine, they'd just pull them out, build a fire, thaw them out, get them going, keep going, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: You make it sound like it's no big deal.

PACKY DICK: Well, it wasn't. You had to do it. You had to do it; otherwise, you're going to walk home, or tow it home. And that -- that was almost an insult getting towed back. Didn't want to get towed back. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: But so up above where the current bridge is was easier crossing?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. It was easier crossing. KAREN BREWSTER: You could --

PACKY DICK: Let's see who was in on that thing. I think Max Fackler (phonetic), and who else went with us that day. There was quite a herd of us. We could have made it all the way up to Upper Russian.


PACKY DICK: The river was just right. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. It was just right. And, of course, once you get past Blackstone, you don't have the glacier, you know, the water running in there, and the water kept getting less and, yeah, we could have made it all the way. We run out of fuel and time and effort, and so we'd turn around and come back.

KAREN BREWSTER: So, do you remember how far up you got?

PACKY DICK: I don't know. We was up there a long ways.

KAREN BREWSTER: Because that's Upper Russian Lake.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. We were -- we didn't have far to go and we'd have made it.

KAREN BREWSTER: And there's a swampy area, it looks like, in here.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. See, that's all froze over in the winter. That was good travelling. Yeah, we could have -- we -- we'd a made 'er, but just got late in the night, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember what time of year?

PACKY DICK: Oh, I don't know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Like was it springtime?

PACKY DICK: Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. Be in the dead of winter. Getting dark at 3 o'clock. We had lights, but still, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember what year? Or what time period that was?


KAREN BREWSTER: Like it was the '70s? It was --

PACKY DICK: Oh, probably.

KAREN BREWSTER: It was before the Park?

PACKY DICK: Yeah, before the Park. Yeah. The Elans were out. 'Cause Max bought a brand new Elan to get in on this -- adventures, you know. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Do you remember when you -- what year you bought your first snow machine?

PACKY DICK: Gee, what was that thing? It was an Elan. No, I bought a -- I bought my first Olympic, I bought it off of a guy in Moose Pass. Yeah. That was in the '70s. '70s. '68, '70. Yeah. '68. Yeah. '70, I think it was. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Did lots of people have snow machines?

PACKY DICK: No. They were a thousand dollars. That was a lot of money. I mean, a lot of money. But I was construction, so I was moneyed up, so I had to have one. You know.

KAREN BREWSTER: I understand. Yeah, what made you want to get one and go snow machining?

PACKY DICK: Well, them guys over in -- over in North Road and Kenai and that, they were running around, Puchek brothers, they had snow machines. Yeah, that looked like a lot of fun. Let me try that. Well, I've got to have one of these, that's all there is to it. So I come over and bought one.

RACHEL MASON: What was the kind of snow machine you called an outlaw machine, is it a Scorpion?

PACKY DICK: Yeah, a black Scorpion thing. RACHEL MASON: Oh, yeah? PACKY DICK: Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: Well, how -- how come it's an outlaw? PACKY DICK: Well, everybody had Ski Doos. RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Everybody had Ski Doos, and here comes Mark along with his Scorpion. Yeah. And then Ray Anderson started Snow Jets. And then who else? Well, then, he went to Polaris after Snow Jets. And then it -- it just started going.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. And in some -- some towns, everybody has a Polaris. PACKY DICK: Right.

KAREN BREWSTER: You know. And some towns everybody has a Ski Doo. PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Depends where you're from, I think. PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: Well, it helps for exchanging parts or something, I guess.

PACKY DICK: Everybody has the same piece of junk. Yeah. Right. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's true. Somehow I have a note about something with outlawing associated with your name. PACKY DICK: Outlawing?

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Does that mean anything to you? PACKY DICK: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: Maybe it was the outlaw snow machines? PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: Maybe that was it? PACKY DICK: No.

KAREN BREWSTER: I don't know what it means. PACKY DICK: No. No. We never --

KAREN BREWSTER: I thought you might know.

PACKY DICK: No, we never did nothing. We were always -- you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: I thought it was some story that had to do with outlawing. I don't know. PACKY DICK: Huh uh.

RACHEL MASON: Well, can you say anything about just the changes you've seen in Seward since you first got here?

PACKY DICK: Oh, man, yeah. Yeah. When the whole side of the town burned down, that's what started the rebuild.

KAREN BREWSTER: When was that?

PACKY DICK: Oh, gee whiz. In the fifty -- oh, '48, I think, or '49, someplace in there.

KAREN BREWSTER: What year did you get here?

PACKY DICK: '38. '36 maybe. Something like that. Because I remember looking out my -- my dad was longshoring, and he come home and all excited, he says, the whole town's burning up.

What? So I -- my room was upstairs, and it faced the mountain, but I could look out and I could see the big, red glow.


PACKY DICK: You know. Oh, man put the clothes on, run uptown and see what's going on, and the whole side of town, that was right up there from -- oh, where would it be.

They are all -- McMullens (phonetic) building. You know, on the left hand side, from there on, there's a vacancy in there.

Well, that whole side went all the way down. Yeah, it started, I guess, in the -- in the barber shop or something. They were heating pipes, or --

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, all the buildings were attached to each other or pretty close.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And just -- and that north wind was blowing. Yeah. And then --

RACHEL MASON: Were they trying to put it out?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, the military. That's another thing. When the military was putting it out, it was burning on this side of the street, and they were worried about it catching the arcade over here.

So they throw dynamite in it to blow it out. What's wrong with this picture? And it blew the -- you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: It did the opposite.

PACKY DICK: But the Solly building stayed. Solly's, that's still there. I mean, that vacant lot was the arcade, and it took it out. And they were worried it was going to get the dock because the sparks and stuff were blowing.

I was across the street standing in front of the bakery, I remember. They come along, and "you can't stand here, it's too hot," and the paint was blistering. I could see the bubbles in the paint.

KAREN BREWSTER: And you were -- PACKY DICK: Quiet .

KAREN BREWSTER: You were a kid?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. '47, yeah, I was a kid.

KAREN BREWSTER: Like what, you were, like, 10 or --

PACKY DICK: Yeah, 9, 10 years old. I had to go down and take a look and watch it burn. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Then another time I looked out the window and the USO was burning. That was the fire hall. It was up at the top where the fire hall is now, yeah, it caught fire.

Took out City Hall and the fire hall. It was gone. Yeah, that was a -- they thought the whole rest of town was going to go then, but they contained it, you know.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's good. Well, you said you -- when you came your dad was working for the military, and you guys lived at the military base?

PACKY DICK: No. No, we lived -- well, when we first came, we lived down there in the arcade, in the basement of the arcade. And then we went over on Home Brew Alley, so to say.

It was low rent over there, and we moved over there. And then we bought -- we got the house that we're down in front of the military.

They shot our chimney off a couple of times, gunner's practice. So then they hooked onto it and they drug it down and put it down on Seventh Avenue and set it, to get us out of the military area.

KAREN BREWSTER: And that military area, that's not here anymore, is it? PACKY DICK: Oh. No.

KAREN BREWSTER: Where would that be in town? PACKY DICK: Where would that be?

KAREN BREWSTER: Is that where the military -- PACKY DICK: Where the city shop is. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum. Okay.

PACKY DICK: The Post Office. Well, that was the 420 area. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, okay.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. And then up behind that where the -- that big apartment place is, well, that was all underground barrackses in there. KAREN BREWSTER: Wow.

PACKY DICK: Yeah, all over. And down in the -- where the shop is down there in front where all the RVs are parked, well, that was all underground barracks.

KAREN BREWSTER: On the waterfront there?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. The motor pool and there was underground barrackses were there. And then out by the city dump, that was all military. And Forest Acres was all military.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I know there's that military rec camp now. PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: And I thought that was where you were talking about. But that's not what you're talking about.

PACKY DICK: No, no, no, that was just part of it. The gunnery range and all their training was out where the city dump was, and yeah, the whole town was military. Yeah. The whole town was military.

KAREN BREWSTER: I thought it was a railroad town. You're talking before that.

PACKY DICK: No. Yeah. Yeah. It was -- it was all military. They had curfews, and had to put up the blackouts, you know, couldn't go out after a certain time of night, but we'd sneak out and get caught and sent back home. And it was --

RACHEL MASON: Did the town mix with the soldiers very much?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think we had, I don't know, 15, 20 bars. RACHEL MASON: Oh, wow.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. It was a good time. Everybody was making money. RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Because the military's here, you know. All those GIs. RACHEL MASON: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. And a lot of them, the troop ships would come in. And they'd get on the train and they'd ship them up north to Anchorage and, you know, Greely, and all of them places. So there was a lot of -- a lot of activity in this town. A lot of money moving around.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Or if they came in for R and R from the Chain, would they come here?

PACKY DICK: Probably. Yeah, because there was nothing out there on that Chain. It was a good place to be from. And all up and down the bay, there was gunning placements --


PACKY DICK: -- all up on Rugged Island, over in Day Harbor, you know, and this side. Kings Head. Well, you've got a park out there now. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Yeah, they made that -- SHANNON KOVAC: State park. PACKY DICK: -- into a park. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

RACHEL MASON: So it must be pretty different now than what it used to be in -- in Seward.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Different people, you know. I mean, different attitude of people. Yeah. It -- it's really changed.

KAREN BREWSTER: Different in what way?

PACKY DICK: Well, it's a government town, the way I look at it, now. You know, there's too few of people are paying all the taxes. Everybody else is on the free list, you know.

But they bring employees. But that don't pay -- you know, that don't pay the taxes for the SeaLife Center, and on and on and on they go. They ain't carrying their weight, but they are putting a lot of money into the town.


PACKY DICK: But the tax structure ain't right. You know. Pretty -- pretty high. Whoever, they're telling me something like 18 percent of the people who live in Seward are paying the -- paying the bills. RACHEL MASON: Wow. KAREN BREWSTER: Well, also -- PACKY DICK: Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: -- is there a big difference between Seward in the summer and Seward in the winter?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, it's a tourist town in summer. T shirt city. Yeah. Prices go up, tourists are here.

You walk into our store now and you see all the little yellow tags, tourists are starting to leave, so everything's on sale. It ain't on sale, they just moved it back to where it started from.

KAREN BREWSTER: I want to ask you about the road. You know, you were talking about going out and doing things out in the Exit Glacier area before that road was put in.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. There was goat -- goat trails from the city dump up this side, but it would -- it didn't go very far. And on this side, you could go through the trees and back down on the beach and back in the trees.

Old Herman Leirer and them, Coke (phonetic) Foster, they put that road in. They got some grant someplace and they kept hammering away on it, and the old guy got 'er done. Yeah, they put that road in. And then it turned into a park. And then you can't.

KAREN BREWSTER: So do you ever go out there anymore?

PACKY DICK: Oh, I was out there the other day. I took old Bob Rappi, he's 89 years old.

And I said, let's go -- an old Fin I used to -- he got off the train right out here, and there's a saw mill out behind, when he come to Alaska and he went saw milling.

And then I got tangled up in saw milling. He sawed up at Bear Lake for, I don't know, four or five years, I guess.

He was a sawyer up -- and then he come hauling logs with me down on the beach, worked down there for a while. We've been friends for eons.

So he's 89 now, still smokes his pack of Camels a day. RACHEL MASON: Wow.

KAREN BREWSTER: And he still lives here in Seward? PACKY DICK: Huh?

KAREN BREWSTER: He still lives here?

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. I just took him groceries today. We had to go get groceries.

He whines about the price of everything, but he don't think nothing of paying 90 bucks for a carton of cigarettes. That old guy.

I mean, 89, go ahead and smoke them, Rap. You know. They ain't going to bother you.

Well, I took him up the glacier and showed him around, and, hey, what's all these building? Well, that's a paved road. Oh, boy. You know, it drew.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. Did he notice a change in the glacier itself?

PACKY DICK: No, he just seen a pile of ice. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: What about you? Can you -- can you see if there's a difference?

PACKY DICK: Hard to get to it. Too many fences and too many gates.

KAREN BREWSTER: And did you used to -- was it easier before?

PACKY DICK: What, get to the ice? KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. You'd just walk up to it. It was down this way a little bit further than it is now.

You know. Kids, like my kid this winter, they went up there with their snow machines. I guess they got a trail that goes up to the top now or something. Yeah.

They blew up that and went up and ripped around on the top. They had a good time. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: You don't do those things anymore? PACKY DICK: Heavens, no. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a snowbird.

PACKY DICK: Golf cart. Yeah, I'm down in -- RACHEL MASON: Golf cart.

PACKY DICK: -- I'm down in Yuma and Mexico in the winter. How is the house doing? Go shovel the snow.

No, we -- we head South every year. Yeah. Have a pretty good time at it. Yeah, Rap was -- he was quite impressed.

Look at all these cars here, all the pavement. What's going on? You know. Change. KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah.

PACKY DICK: You can't, you can't, you can't, is the chant now.

RACHEL MASON: When Herman Leirer started that road, was there a lot of opposition to it?

PACKY DICK: Oh, no. Everybody wanted to get in on it. RACHEL MASON: -- that?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. Lloyd Blondin started it on the flat side, but he got up there, there was a big slide area, and every time he'd get through there, there would be more problems, you know.

So then Herman took it around and took it on the other side to keep it away from the slides. And so this -- so the left side would have been shorter. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum.

PACKY DICK: But the right side didn't -- then you wouldn't have had to cross the river like on the right side, but now it's developed, you know, they got all the lodges. They couldn't do that on the left side.

KAREN BREWSTER: There wasn't space.

PACKY DICK: No, there wasn't space, no. They'd come right down into the river with the big snow slides and the rock slides, and just...

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and back then, nobody cared -- cared about the environmental things.

PACKY DICK: No, we didn't have them up here. She was pretty just do it.

KAREN BREWSTER: Just put a road through with a dozer -- PACKY DICK: Put a road. Yeah. Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- it didn't matter.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. We didn't have people running around with napkins getting you all worried about, oh, you broke that tree down, the squirrels won't have no place to live, you know. But they'll drive right up there with their car and protest. Oh, okay. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when -- when Herman put that road in, people in town were happy for --

PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah, for development. It only went up to the thing. They couldn't -- the river kept you from going across.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, there was no bridge.

PACKY DICK: You had to -- you know, you could go across, but you had to go through the water. And they built that bridge. I worked on that.

KAREN BREWSTER: You worked on the bridge? PACKY DICK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. I was running crane up there. And they put that in. KAREN BREWSTER: That sounds like a tough job.

PACKY DICK: Nah. It was an easy job. Just sit there and pull levers. Let everything happen.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that was to put the pilings in?

PACKY DICK: Uh hum. Drove piling, drove the cells, the steel cell, and then put the piling down inside of it so they could put the footings in and all this here, you know, below the water line, and all that.

KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah. How do you do all that with water rushing down around it?

PACKY DICK: Well, that's what they drive the cell for.

KAREN BREWSTER: But how do you put the cell in?

PACKY DICK: It's just sheet piling that locked together. And they just make a big circle. Then they put a bracer in it so it doesn't collapse, and then dig the dirt out, and drive the piling, and there it is. Fill it full of mud.

KAREN BREWSTER: How do you -- how do you put the pieces of the cell in? Weren't you using a pile driver to pound it in?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Hammer. Diesel hammer. And now they even tell you, well, you can't use a diesel hammer. Spraying, making black smoke. You can't do that.

KAREN BREWSTER: I've always wondered how they put bridges in.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. Well, they just built the new bridges going into Seward. Those are 80 foot pilings. They had to drive them down.


PACKY DICK: Until they hit bedrock, so the next earthquake happens, I understand that it's going to be on the bedrock, and it won't work, you know, it won't lose it.

KAREN BREWSTER: So that Exit Glacier bridge -- PACKY DICK: Yeah. KAREN BREWSTER: -- how deep are those?

PACKY DICK: Well, they went -- they wasn't that deep. They hit bedrock right away.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh, they did hit bedrock?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. It seemed like they hit. Even one sheet wall. Well, when they drove the piling in the cell, they made it, you could just see the rock underneath there.

The engineers missed it. These piling were shorter, you know, and then it went to full rock, but it didn't matter, it was on bedrock. KAREN BREWSTER: Uh hum.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. It was -- and they got it in, everybody could go across. That was nice. It was. KAREN BREWSTER: It was nice. Makes it easier.

PACKY DICK: Yeah. And then they paved it and, you know, then the tourists came. And boy they -- I guess they get -- I don't know how many thousand they get a year up there, but it's got to be -- got to be pretty good. And that's good for the town. Yeah.

They come off them cruise ship and go downtown and buy a couple T shirts, wander around, take a few pictures and go up there instead of just jumping on the cruise -- busses and train and gone, you know. Take them to McKinley.

KAREN BREWSTER: So when you're putting those -- well, back to the bridge, I'm interested to know more about building the bridge. You're running a crane, are -- you're onshore or you're in the river?

PACKY DICK: No, I'm on -- I'm onshore. Yeah. They built a little dike out there where you can paddle out to, and sit there in the crawler crane and pick your sheets up and drive them.

KAREN BREWSTER: So you were picking up the sheets to make the cell, as well as the piling? You did all of it?

PACKY DICK: Yeah, then they put the piling, then they drove the piling, put a template in there to hold the piling, then they're driving it. And then they pour mud in there, cement. Pull the sheets out. And there they got 'er.

KAREN BREWSTER: And then you went on to another job? PACKY DICK: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

KAREN BREWSTER: That's the only part you did, were the footings?

PACKY DICK: Yeah. I didn't stick around. That other part was all work.

RACHEL MASON: How many of you were working on the bridge?

PACKY DICK: Oh, man, I don't know how many. They probably had a crew of 20, 30. They had a pretty good crew.

KAREN BREWSTER: But were you the only one doing the cells?

PACKY DICK: No, they had one other crane there. They had another crane there. He was a company man, the other crane. So I took my crane and went home.

KAREN BREWSTER: What do you mean, a company man?

PACKY DICK: Well, he worked for the outfit that got the bid. I was hired out of the hall.

KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. They needed another --

PACKY DICK: Yeah, they needed another operator.

KAREN BREWSTER: So being hired out of the hall, that makes you cheaper?

PACKY DICK: Oh, no, I'm union. Those guys weren't. But we got Davis Bacon -- they got Davis Bacon.

KAREN BREWSTER: Well, I knew it was the union hall, but I didn't know if you were working for the company, that means you're more expensive, or you're more expensive if you're hired --

PACKY DICK: Well, that was Davis Bacon. They got paid the same I did, but they didn't get no retirement, no benefits or nothing like that.

KAREN BREWSTER: But you did?

PACKY DICK: Uh hum. Yeah. That's why I'm retired and they're probably still working, with any luck. Well, there's your --

KAREN BREWSTER: All right. Is there anything else that you've done out in this area, you know, hunting or recreation or --

PACKY DICK: No. No. KAREN BREWSTER: -- snow machining or anything?

RACHEL MASON: Or anything else you'd like to let us know about the Exit Glacier area, you know, how it's -- how your access to it has changed over the years?

PACKY DICK: Oh, it's easy now, just drive up there. Yeah. Yeah. No, that's about it. RACHEL MASON: Okay.

PACKY DICK: All that happened up and down there. For me anyways.