Kako’s Beginnings

Kako Retreat Center (KRC) began in the 1970’s as a dream of a young school teacher-missionary-gold miner at Kako, on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of western Alaska. When Ed Hooley died in a plane crash, Dave Penz took over the mining and carried out Ed’s dream of establishing a place where people of the delta could come for spiritual teaching and relaxation.

Kako Retreat Center (KRC) is located on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Western Alaska. No roads connect it to the rest of the world.

The gold mining equipment was loaded onto a barge in Fairbanks, carried down the Yukon to the river bank 8 miles from Kako, then pulled on sledges to the site by a bulldozer. Dave says the equipment could be back in production in just a few days. A lot of gold was taken out of the ground which now lies beneath the airstrip, but for now, low prices and high costs make mining impractical.
 Dave showing Hank how he pans for gold in a horse watering trough.

The gold in this pan is tiny specks and flakes. It came from floor sweepings in Dave’s metal working shop.

Picking wild blueberries along the track that leads to the Yukon River. The no-see-ums won this battle.

When we tried to back down the muddy road in the 4-wheel drive truck, we got stuck.
Abe, a pilot from Nunivak Island, and his wife, Mona, came with us to check out the berries. He got us unstuck and backed the truck all the way to the gravel runway.

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