Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Coldfoot and the IWSG

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Coldfoot, Alaska is a census-designated place with a 2010 population of 10. It is one of the settings in my novel Polar Night, and is the home of the haunted asylum turned tourist attraction that plays a key role in the book.

Coldfoot is located on the Dalton Highway in between Fairbanks and Prudhoe Bay. It has a restaurant and overnight accommodations for tourists who take bus tours up to the Arctic ocean.

Originally a mining camp in the early 1900s, Coldfoot had stores, roadhouses, saloons, and a gambling house during its heyday. It still has a post office, a visitor center, and an airport, which is pictured above.

I've read that the town got its name because gold prospectors going north along the Koyukuk River would get "cold feet" about going any farther than Coldfoot and turn around. That may be the case but it's more fun to think the name of the town is literal. I would imagine the miners' feet really were extremely cold!

I loved the name Coldfoot and thought the area was perfect for the desolated setting I wanted for my book. When tourists and truck drivers traveling along the Dalton Highway leave Coldfoot and head north, they don't find any services again for 240 miles, when they reach an unincorporated community called Deadhorse.

It was hard to imagine a creepier setting for a haunted asylum than that. 

Today is also the day for the monthly meeting of Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. If there's anything I'm feeling insecure about right now, it's keeping up with this year's A - Z Challenge! It's amazing how many great bloggers are participating and between checking in with my regular friends and keeping up with my minion duties, I'm already feeling more than a little overwhelmed.

This happens every April though so I know I will get back on more of an even keel as we go along. Or at least I hope so, anyway. Yikes! :D


  1. I'm only spectating this year. My plate is way too full.

    Good luck!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  2. I know how you feel, Julie... I am loving the challenge so far but am barely keeping up! Makings st if my comments by IPhone because I have very limited Internet access!

    But I created a schedule this is working so far.... But I want to visit lots more blogs, but I am going blind using my phone... Lol.

    Hang in there... You are doing great!

    Very onterestingbsetting for your novel... I love learning about far off the beaten track type places.

  3. Coldfoot is aptly named.
    I know! Between my blogger buddies, comments, and my section of the A to Z list, I'm going crazy trying to keep up. Add the IWSG today and my clones just might explode.

  4. From Coldfoot to those are some great town names! Enjoyed this post a lot. :)

    I don't know how you all do it - I'm only a regular participant in the Challenge and I'm struggling! But it's still fun! :)

  5. @Shelly, thank you!

    @Michael, oh, I know for sure I would go blind if I tried to use my phone for this LOL. I hope you get your Internet access back soon!

    @Alex, LOL, I hope your clones won't get too stressed, those poor guys.

    @Madeline, aren't they great? I love the names. You're right too, it is fun even though it's also a little bit stressful. :)

  6. I love the name Deadhorse! Good luck with the A-Z - that's mostly the reason I knew I wouldn't be able to sign-up this year... although I had a blast last year :-)

  7. I guess Deadhorse isn't even a one horse town any more. Ba boom tish!

  8. Coldfoot and Deadhorse reminds me of two towns named Fiercedogs and Smallmoles. It makes me really wonder who came up with such names.

    I feel you with the overwhelmed feeling. I was laughing at myself yesterday, as I realized I really didn't know what I was getting into. It's crazy. :)

  9. I think your posts this week are going to help push me to take that trip to Alaska!

  10. @Annalisa, it is a lot of fun but seems crazier than ever this year. I love Deadhorse too LOL.

    @Nick, LOL. :D

    @Al, oh, I love those names! Clancy would love it if we moved to Fiercedogs LOL.

    @Regina, that would be awesome!

  11. You had me at "haunted asylum", Julie.

  12. I think it's virtually impossible to keep up, which is why I declined to participate this year. Still feeling left out, but I know it's the right decision for me.

  13. 10 people?! That makes my little hometown of 1,200 seem like a metropolis. lol

    I think we were of a like mind for our IWSG today. :)

  14. I can so relate, Julie. April is definitely a busy month in Blog Land. Here's wishing you every success:)Coldfront sounds like a neat place to visit...if I ever get to Alaska...oh the dreams I have, places I want to see, things I want to do there, and memories I desire to have...

  15. Coldfoot seems to be an appropriate name for a place in Alaska.

  16. Love that name, Coldfoot, and I have to's a great name for a creepy, deserted, town.

    I know what you mean about A to Z,'s a lot of work to keep up!

    Best of luck!

  17. Only in Alaska would you find Coldfoot, and Deadhorse, both sound pretty sketchy. I feel sorry for the people living there in the 1800's or before for that matter.

  18. Only 10 people in 2010? Wowzers!
    And a haunted asylum sounds like a great read!!

  19. @Susan, I'm so glad! :D

    @Karen, I think that is my problem, I'm having a terrible time keeping up but then I know I would feel left out if I didn't join in, so I can't win right now.

    @EJ, I would say so.

    @MJ, thank you, I wish you the best of luck as well!

    @Dani, I agree LOL.

    @Mark, it's way more work than I remember from last year, or maybe I'm just more easily overwhelmed now LOL.

    @Cathrina, I know, I can't imagine what it must have been like in the 1800s, unreal.

    @Jackie, thanks!!

  20. That is so funny how Coldfoot got its name. It was a great choice for your setting. Love that it's a bit haunted :)

  21. I love hearing how a town gots its name. Some of the stories are just funny. Well done today.

  22. No need to feel insecure, as you're doing a great job Julie! Coldfoot is the perfect setting, and just hearing about it gives me chills.


  23. Coldfoot does sound creepy. Alaska is just too cold for me.

  24. Agree, agree! I LOVED your choice of setting. :)

  25. Hi Julie .. census designated with a population of 10 .. tiny ...

    Then Deadhorse .. the names are enough to give you the creeps - C for Creeps! .. and a haunted asylum just to make sure you're going bonkers ..

    Murder and mystery here .. love the name though - cheers Hilary

  26. @Gwen, thanks!

    @LynnMarie, I always love learning things like this too.

    @Julie, thank you!

    @Michael, too cold for me as well LOL.

    @Melissa, thanks so much!

    @Hilary, LOL, maybe I should have just used creeps for C. :)

  27. I'd heard of Coldfoot before, probably because it's so tiny. It does sound like a great location for a novel.

    As for A to Z, I'm trying to visit as many blogs as possible, too, and I know how y'all feel about it. Eyes are tired even though I'm on a desktop and not a phone!

    C is for: Chocolate (and other things)

  28. oooh. Coldfoot sounds like a great setting for a mystery/suspense novel::)great post!

  29. Coldfoot is a great name for an Alaskan town. My parents have been to Deadhorse before. That may be the road where they saw the grizzly bear. Yeah, wouldn't want to get stranded around there. :)

  30. Coldfoot and Deadhorse! I love those names, especially in combination with each other.

    240 miles ... a little more than twice as far as West Texas!

  31. Coldfoot to Deadhorse is incredible. Your book sounds wonderful. I will check it out and come back to see your other posts. I spent some time in Juno and thereabouts and loved that part of Alaska. Someday I'll visit the main land.

  32. Coldfoor sounds muy interesting! It's so hard to keep some days, and those are the days I sit back with a nice cup of coffee. Hang in there, Julie.

  33. @Barbara, thanks! I know, my eyes are getting to me too. I'd be blind for sure if I was trying to just use my phone!

    @Nutschell, thank you!

    @LG, oh, how funny that your folks have been to Deadhorse. I can't imagine going there.

    @Carol, aren't they great? LOL.

    @Joe, oh, thanks so much! I really appreciate it. And I hope to get to visit Alaska someday, glad you enjoyed your time there.

    @Kerri, coffee sounds fantastic! Good plan. :)


  34. I, too, am feeling a bit insecure about the A to Z. I thought I'd be able to visit everyone at least once during the Challenge. Ha! Who was I kidding?

    Coldfoot looks desolate, but even the airport is lovely. Definitely a spooky setting—as if a haunted asylum wouldn't be creepy anywhere. :)

    ~VR Barkowski

  35. So, you weren't one of those who had your posts completed before hand? I can't imagine having done that myself, so I feel you. I've just joined up to help with the minioning and will see how much time it takes up!

  36. Funny to think of a tourist attraction in an area with a population of 10. And, yeah, a haunted asylum in the middle of nowhere? Doesn't get much creepier than that! Love the name Coldfoot, too.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog today. Happy A to Z-ing to ya!

    ~Tui Snider

  37. What a really interesting story about Coldfoot, Alaska. I've never been to Alaska and can only imagine what a hardship the gold seekers endured! Thanks for sharing this!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  38. What an interesting and creepy setting for your book! And I feel cold just thinking about it...

  39. @VR, I thought I was going to visit everyone too. I don't think that's going to happen now LOL.

    @Nancy, oh, that's great you've decided to be a minion too. Have fun with it!

    @Tui, my pleasure, and thanks for coming by here as well. :)

    @Mary, I know, it's impossible to comprehend what it must have been like. Thanks so much!

    @Lisa, thanks! But I'm sorry to make you feel cold LOL.

  40. It really does sound eerie, and a good place to put a haunted asylum.

  41. Your book intrigues me, as I have a book in the works about Alaska too! But mine's a picture book. And focuses mostly on animals. Nice to meet you. Maybe you'll be able to figure out the book challenge on my blogging A-Z challenge.

  42. 10? As in, 10 people? Wow!

    This is my first go-round with A-Z, so I'm definitely insecure about it!

  43. There is, indeed, a lot to keep up with- you're doing admirably well. I'm enjoying learning little bits and pieces about your book through this month's A-Z. Coldfoot looks very desolate. I live in Coldfoot- or at least it gets cold enough I could call it that!

  44. I like how you help the reader visualize and feel the location of the novel. It takes a hardy soul to live in a cold climate like that.

  45. Wow! 10 people? 10?? How is that even ON the census. That's just amazing.

  46. I like the name Coldfoot too, but wow, only 10 people living there!
    As for AZ, I felt a little overwhelmed these last couple of days too, but I know things will smooth out soon and we'll get into the groove.

    A-Z participant blogging from Elise Fallson

  47. You seem to be doing great!

    10? That sounds like some towns around here. :)

  48. mmm - sounds like a fun place to live - not.

  49. That does sound creepy! It also makes me want to visit a place like that... but only to visit!

  50. Coldfoot seems like an amazingly cool town. Wow only 10 people. I've lived in some small towns...but never one of only 10.

  51. A-Z is tough but worth it. Wow you really did the research for your book.

  52. Not names that would induce me to want to visit a place. Add the words "haunted" and "asylum" and I just want to run screaming for the hills.

    Does sound deliciously scary though. :)

  53. Excellent Post!
    Simply awesome.

  54. Looks like a beautiful place, but yeah, I can imagine being plenty freaked out when it's dark out there.

  55. So if Bigfoot was sighted in Coldfoot would it be like the Big Chill?

    (yeah, I'm reaching, it's late)

  56. Coldfoot is a weird name for a town/place, but very suitable for Alaska I guess!
    Regarding the challenge, I went through the list of participating blogs before it started, visited most of them to see which ones seemed interesting, and have them saved in a special folder on my bookmarks bar. I go through most of them (in the special list) every day and leave comments on those where I have anything to say. It doesn't take too much time really.

  57. Sounds like the perfect setting. Did you actually visit Alaska (or have you?)?

  58. I like to think that the prospectors didn't want to go any further because their feet were tooooo cold, too. The poor horses of those prospectors who went further.
    Thanks for the visit yesterday.

    Su-sieee! Mac
    Take 25 to Hollister
    Don't be a Hippie

  59. Hi Julie - I found you through the A-Z and I'm glad I did. Your novel Polar Night sounds just right for me, so I'll check it out. I too am signed up for the IWSG but this month I've really had to pass because of the A-Z.

  60. @Daydreamer, thanks!

    @Christie, oh, I love animals so your book sounds wonderful to me. So nice to meet you too!

    @Samantha, you'll do great with it, glad you decided to sign up.

    @Julie, LOL, from what you had said about your town I can believe that. Thanks!

    @J Hanna, thanks so much, I appreciate that!

    @Aimee, isn't it bizarre? I guess there wouldn't be anyone there if not for the truck stops.

    @Elise, yeah, that's what I'm hoping as well, that's how it was last year at least.

    @Mary, thanks, I hope so LOL.

    @David, why not, what's the problem? :D

    @Christine, yeah, I wouldn't want to spend any more time there either.

    @Rebecca, it kind of gives new meaning to the words small town, doesn't it?

    @Sheena, I agree, it's worth all the craziness. :)

    @Lily, LOL, I have to agree there.

    @Maggid, thanks!

    @Tim, especially since it must be so dark in the winter, I can't imagine.

    @LD, LOL. :D

    @Suzanne, that's a good way to do it, I wish I had visited more before the challenge began.

    @Trisha, I didn't, no, but I loved researching it.

    @Su-siee, that's such a good point, I would guess they lost a lot of animals during those trips. :(

    @Susan, oh, thank you, I really appreciate that! So nice to meet you.

  61. For some reason, I thought Coldfoot had more people. Talk about being isolated!

    Your theme's great, Julie.

  62. @Kittie, I'm so glad you like it, thanks!

  63. Coldfoot is the ideal name. Sure looks cold and creepy! *shudders*
    And I know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed! It's super-hectic at the moment...

  64. There's no need to be insecure. I'm glad I've participated in A-Z Challenge and meet interesting people like you!

    Sincerely,Miss Uncertain---sidetracked

  65. How can it get to be a real place with only 10 people in it? If I invite a bunch of people to live in my house, can I have it be a "place"? That would be kind of cool!

  66. @michelle, yeah, I'm kind of getting bleary-eyed and my fingers aren't working too well when I type LOL.

    @miss uncertain, oh, that's so nice of you to say, thanks!

    @Andrew, maybe you should try it LOL. I never thought of it that way, too funny.

  67. 10 people? That's crazy. And that fact that it's one of only three towns on that entire road is insane!

    I agree about it being the perfect setting for a haunted asylum. Especially since back in the day they would have built an asylum out in the middle of nowehre like that- the whole "Not in my backyard" phenomenom.

  68. @Beverly, yeah, that's kind of how I wanted it to come across. They wanted to get the patients as far away as possible.


Thank you for your comments!