The Pilgrim (Hale) family journey

Some of the Pilgrim family members sing at an Anchorage Folk Festival event in January of 2002. From left are Jerusalem, Elizabeth, Hosanna, their father Pilgrim, and Joshua.
Marc Lester
The seventeen members of the Pilgrim family on their land near the head of McCarthy Creek in the Wrangells.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim leads a family prayer before the children set out for a horse trip to the family's homestead up McCarthy Creek. Pilgrim said he'd been working with his neighbors "to release them from their own misunderstandings."
Marc Lester
Joshua, Moses and Elishaba head up a muddy stretch of the old mining road near McCarthy, where local use continued in recent years.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim, 62, says God directed him to lead his family to live at a remote homestead in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Since using a bulldozer to gain access over an old mining road, the Pilgrim family has been at the center of a controversy between the National Park Service, environmentalists and land rights activists.
Marc Lester
Joshua Hale (also known as Joshua Pilgrim) rides a horse along an old mining road near McCarthy Creek in August 2003.
Marc Lester
The Hale family, formerly known as the Pilgrim family, at their homestead near McCarthy in August 2003.
Marc Lester
Prospectors used the McCarthy Creek road, visible on the right of the creek, to reach diggings outside McCarthy. Before the Pilgrims arrived, the northern end of the road had grown over with young trees.
Marc Lester
The Pilgrim family's cabin, 14 miles up McCarthy Creek from the town of McCarthy.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim leads some of his children in a few gospel and bluegrass tunes before bedtime at the cabin. The cabin was built by prospectors long after the original Mother Lode Mine closed.
Marc Lester
Elishaba, raised on horseback, takes a break during the 14-mile ride from McCarthy to the family's home. At 28, she is the eldest of the Pilgrim family's 15 children.
Marc Lester
At the Pilgrim family camp in town, Joshua prepares a saddle for a ride. "People come out here to live a quiet existence," said their nearest town neighbor Stevens Harper. "A family of 17 next to you isn't a quiet existence."
Marc Lester
Hosanna, 13, leads the family's horses toward the Pilgrim's cabin. The family bought nine horses after the McCarthy Creek road was closed to motorized vehicles.
Marc Lester
A goat wanders around the Pilgrim family's camp in the town of McCarthy. The camp, a sprawl of wooden shelters, a shack, a trailer and draped tarps, is on a public right of way and the source of neighborhood resentment.
Marc Lester
Elishaba leads the Pilgrim family's horses through the town of McCarthy. Locals say the horses have escaped several times to graze at the airstrip, aggravating local pilots.
Marc Lester
For two weeks in late August, park biologists and specialists gathered information on the road along McCarthy Creek that Papa Pilgrim used a bulldozer on. Older children from the Pilgrim family monitored their work daily from horseback, at rear.
Marc Lester
National Park Service ranger Pat Naville holds the Pilgrims at bay as park investigators assess bulldozer damage along the overgrown mining road. Federal officials say the family needed a permit before bulldozing through the national park.
Marc Lester
For two weeks in late August, park biologists and specialists gathered information on the road along McCarthy Creek that Papa Pilgrim used a bulldozer on. Older children from the Pilgrim family monitored their work daily from horseback, at rear.
Marc Lester
Robert Allen Hale, also known as Papa Pilgrim, says God directed him to lead his family to live at a remote homestead in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. On 9/22/05 the Grand Jury in Palmer indicted Robert Hale, age 64 of McCarthy, on thirty felony counts including ten counts of Sexual Assault in the First Degree, one count of Kidnapping, eight counts of Incest, eight counts of Coercion, and one count each of Assault in the First, Second and Third Degree.
Marc Lester
The Pilgrim family in August 2003. In back: Hosanna, 13, Jerusalem, 14, Israel, 16, Moses, 18, David, 20, Joshua, 24, Joseph, 26, mother Country Rose, holding Jonathan, 10 months, and Elishaba, 28. In front: Job, 11, Noah, 9, Abraham, 8, Psalms, 6, Lamb, 5, Papa Pilgrim, 62, Bethlehem, 3.
Marc Lester
Hosanna, 13, collects peas from the garden, helping to prepare lunch. The Pilgrims also rely on moose and salmon to feed the family of 17.
Marc Lester
Hosanna, 13, makes salad from lettuce grown in the family garden. The Pilgrims also rely on moose and salmon to feed the family of 17.
Marc Lester
Elishaba Hale looks out the window of the family's home in the wilderness near McCarthy in August 2003. Elishaba is now married and goes by Elishaba Doerksen.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim spends time with his daughters Psalms, 6, and Lamb, 5, as his wife Country Rose prepares dinner in the family's small cabin. The family lived in the mountains of New Mexico for several decades, and moved to McCarthy last year.
Marc Lester
Moses crosses the McCarthy Creek a final time before reaching the Pilgrim home. The 14-mile right of way from McCarthy crosses the creek at least a dozen times.
Marc Lester
Country Rose talks on the phone while feeding her youngest child, Jonathan, 9 months.
Marc Lester
The Hale family, formerly known as the Pilgrim family, at their homestead near McCarthy in August 2003.
Marc Lester
The Hale family, formerly known as the Pilgrim family, at their homestead near McCarthy in August 2003.
Marc Lester
The combined Hale and Buckingham families, most of whom live in this home on Lazy Mountain near Palmer. Photo December 14, 2006.
Marc Lester
Alaska Railroad Police special agent John Waychoff holds a Alaska State Trooper bulletin that Robert Hale is wanted.
Marc Lester
Alaska Railroad special agent John Waychoff arrested Robert Hale in north Eagle River after Hale attempted to drive down a dirt road onto railroad property. "He told me he was aware he was wanted," Waychoff said.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale's van is loaded for transportation on Eklutna Park Drive after Hale was arrested on Wednesday, October 5, 2005.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale tries to look at members of his family observing from the gallery during his appearance in front of Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood in Palmer on Tuesday, December 26, 2006, for a change of plea hearing. Hale plead no contest to 3 consolidated counts of sexual assault, incest and coercion. Sentencing is set for April 30.
Stephen Nowers
Observers in Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood's courtroom, including members of the Pilgrim family, listen to Robert Hale's change of plea proceedings in the Palmer courthouse on Tuesday, December 26, 2006. Hale plead no contest to 3 consolidated counts of sexual assault, incest and coercion. Sentencing is set for April 30.
Stephen Nowers
Robert Hale turns to view 20 family members including new grandson Jeremiah Hale, seven months, held by his father Joshua Hale at lower right, during a change of plea hearing Thursday September 13, 2007 at Nesbett Courthouse downtown. Hale decided not to change his no-contest plea on charges of rape, kidnapping and incest, and is scheduled for sentencing in October.
Erik Hill
Robert Hale sees grandsons Jeremiah Hale, seven months, and Benaiah Hale, five months, for the first time at a change of plea hearing Thursday September 13, 2007 at Nesbett Courthouse downtown. Hale decided not to change his no-contest plea on charges of rape, kidnapping and incest, and is scheduled for sentencing in October.
Erik Hill
Robert Hale, known as Papa Pilgrim, rests his left arm on a bible as he takes notes during his sentencing in an Anchorage Superior Courtroom on Monday, November 26, 2007.
Bill Roth
Robert Hale is wheeled into court after a midday break in his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, November 27, 2007.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale spoke for three hours at his sentencing hearing in an Anchorage courtroom.
Marc Lester
One of Robert Hale's daughters is comforted as Hale spoke at his sentencing on November 11, 2007, in Anchorage.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale, known as Papa Pilgrim, during his sentencing on Monday, November 26, 2007.
Bill Roth
Jim Buckingham talks with members of the Hale family and others outside the courtroom where the Robert Hale sentencing was underway.
Marc Lester
Kurina Hale, center, sits in the courtroom gallery as Robert Hale gives a three-hour statement at his sentencing hearing Tuesday.
Marc Lester
One of the sons of Robert Hale listens as his father speaks at his sentencing hearing in Anchorage on November 27, 2007.
Marc Lester
Some of the Pilgrim family members sing at an Anchorage Folk Festival event in January of 2002. From left are Jerusalem, Elizabeth, Hosanna, their father Pilgrim, and Joshua.
Marc Lester
The seventeen members of the Pilgrim family on their land near the head of McCarthy Creek in the Wrangells.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim leads a family prayer before the children set out for a horse trip to the family's homestead up McCarthy Creek. Pilgrim said he'd been working with his neighbors "to release them from their own misunderstandings."
Marc Lester
Joshua, Moses and Elishaba head up a muddy stretch of the old mining road near McCarthy, where local use continued in recent years.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim, 62, says God directed him to lead his family to live at a remote homestead in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Since using a bulldozer to gain access over an old mining road, the Pilgrim family has been at the center of a controversy between the National Park Service, environmentalists and land rights activists.
Marc Lester
Joshua Hale (also known as Joshua Pilgrim) rides a horse along an old mining road near McCarthy Creek in August 2003.
Marc Lester
The Hale family, formerly known as the Pilgrim family, at their homestead near McCarthy in August 2003.
Marc Lester
Prospectors used the McCarthy Creek road, visible on the right of the creek, to reach diggings outside McCarthy. Before the Pilgrims arrived, the northern end of the road had grown over with young trees.
Marc Lester
The Pilgrim family's cabin, 14 miles up McCarthy Creek from the town of McCarthy.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim leads some of his children in a few gospel and bluegrass tunes before bedtime at the cabin. The cabin was built by prospectors long after the original Mother Lode Mine closed.
Marc Lester
Elishaba, raised on horseback, takes a break during the 14-mile ride from McCarthy to the family's home. At 28, she is the eldest of the Pilgrim family's 15 children.
Marc Lester
At the Pilgrim family camp in town, Joshua prepares a saddle for a ride. "People come out here to live a quiet existence," said their nearest town neighbor Stevens Harper. "A family of 17 next to you isn't a quiet existence."
Marc Lester
Hosanna, 13, leads the family's horses toward the Pilgrim's cabin. The family bought nine horses after the McCarthy Creek road was closed to motorized vehicles.
Marc Lester
A goat wanders around the Pilgrim family's camp in the town of McCarthy. The camp, a sprawl of wooden shelters, a shack, a trailer and draped tarps, is on a public right of way and the source of neighborhood resentment.
Marc Lester
Elishaba leads the Pilgrim family's horses through the town of McCarthy. Locals say the horses have escaped several times to graze at the airstrip, aggravating local pilots.
Marc Lester
For two weeks in late August, park biologists and specialists gathered information on the road along McCarthy Creek that Papa Pilgrim used a bulldozer on. Older children from the Pilgrim family monitored their work daily from horseback, at rear.
Marc Lester
National Park Service ranger Pat Naville holds the Pilgrims at bay as park investigators assess bulldozer damage along the overgrown mining road. Federal officials say the family needed a permit before bulldozing through the national park.
Marc Lester
For two weeks in late August, park biologists and specialists gathered information on the road along McCarthy Creek that Papa Pilgrim used a bulldozer on. Older children from the Pilgrim family monitored their work daily from horseback, at rear.
Marc Lester
Robert Allen Hale, also known as Papa Pilgrim, says God directed him to lead his family to live at a remote homestead in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. On 9/22/05 the Grand Jury in Palmer indicted Robert Hale, age 64 of McCarthy, on thirty felony counts including ten counts of Sexual Assault in the First Degree, one count of Kidnapping, eight counts of Incest, eight counts of Coercion, and one count each of Assault in the First, Second and Third Degree.
Marc Lester
The Pilgrim family in August 2003. In back: Hosanna, 13, Jerusalem, 14, Israel, 16, Moses, 18, David, 20, Joshua, 24, Joseph, 26, mother Country Rose, holding Jonathan, 10 months, and Elishaba, 28. In front: Job, 11, Noah, 9, Abraham, 8, Psalms, 6, Lamb, 5, Papa Pilgrim, 62, Bethlehem, 3.
Marc Lester
Hosanna, 13, collects peas from the garden, helping to prepare lunch. The Pilgrims also rely on moose and salmon to feed the family of 17.
Marc Lester
Hosanna, 13, makes salad from lettuce grown in the family garden. The Pilgrims also rely on moose and salmon to feed the family of 17.
Marc Lester
Elishaba Hale looks out the window of the family's home in the wilderness near McCarthy in August 2003. Elishaba is now married and goes by Elishaba Doerksen.
Marc Lester
Papa Pilgrim spends time with his daughters Psalms, 6, and Lamb, 5, as his wife Country Rose prepares dinner in the family's small cabin. The family lived in the mountains of New Mexico for several decades, and moved to McCarthy last year.
Marc Lester
Moses crosses the McCarthy Creek a final time before reaching the Pilgrim home. The 14-mile right of way from McCarthy crosses the creek at least a dozen times.
Marc Lester
Country Rose talks on the phone while feeding her youngest child, Jonathan, 9 months.
Marc Lester
The Hale family, formerly known as the Pilgrim family, at their homestead near McCarthy in August 2003.
Marc Lester
The Hale family, formerly known as the Pilgrim family, at their homestead near McCarthy in August 2003.
Marc Lester
The combined Hale and Buckingham families, most of whom live in this home on Lazy Mountain near Palmer. Photo December 14, 2006.
Marc Lester
Alaska Railroad Police special agent John Waychoff holds a Alaska State Trooper bulletin that Robert Hale is wanted.
Marc Lester
Alaska Railroad special agent John Waychoff arrested Robert Hale in north Eagle River after Hale attempted to drive down a dirt road onto railroad property. "He told me he was aware he was wanted," Waychoff said.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale's van is loaded for transportation on Eklutna Park Drive after Hale was arrested on Wednesday, October 5, 2005.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale tries to look at members of his family observing from the gallery during his appearance in front of Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood in Palmer on Tuesday, December 26, 2006, for a change of plea hearing. Hale plead no contest to 3 consolidated counts of sexual assault, incest and coercion. Sentencing is set for April 30.
Stephen Nowers
Observers in Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood's courtroom, including members of the Pilgrim family, listen to Robert Hale's change of plea proceedings in the Palmer courthouse on Tuesday, December 26, 2006. Hale plead no contest to 3 consolidated counts of sexual assault, incest and coercion. Sentencing is set for April 30.
Stephen Nowers
Robert Hale turns to view 20 family members including new grandson Jeremiah Hale, seven months, held by his father Joshua Hale at lower right, during a change of plea hearing Thursday September 13, 2007 at Nesbett Courthouse downtown. Hale decided not to change his no-contest plea on charges of rape, kidnapping and incest, and is scheduled for sentencing in October.
Erik Hill
Robert Hale sees grandsons Jeremiah Hale, seven months, and Benaiah Hale, five months, for the first time at a change of plea hearing Thursday September 13, 2007 at Nesbett Courthouse downtown. Hale decided not to change his no-contest plea on charges of rape, kidnapping and incest, and is scheduled for sentencing in October.
Erik Hill
Robert Hale, known as Papa Pilgrim, rests his left arm on a bible as he takes notes during his sentencing in an Anchorage Superior Courtroom on Monday, November 26, 2007.
Bill Roth
Robert Hale is wheeled into court after a midday break in his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, November 27, 2007.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale spoke for three hours at his sentencing hearing in an Anchorage courtroom.
Marc Lester
One of Robert Hale's daughters is comforted as Hale spoke at his sentencing on November 11, 2007, in Anchorage.
Marc Lester
Robert Hale, known as Papa Pilgrim, during his sentencing on Monday, November 26, 2007.
Bill Roth
Jim Buckingham talks with members of the Hale family and others outside the courtroom where the Robert Hale sentencing was underway.
Marc Lester
Kurina Hale, center, sits in the courtroom gallery as Robert Hale gives a three-hour statement at his sentencing hearing Tuesday.
Marc Lester
One of the sons of Robert Hale listens as his father speaks at his sentencing hearing in Anchorage on November 27, 2007.
Marc Lester
Craig Medred