How do you solve this limit, without l'Hopital's Rule? Using l'Hopital's rule is too easy.
Not really. The presence of the logarithm ultimately requires either some form of series about the value to which its arguement converges, or else l'Hopital's rule (which essentially derives from the Taylor series for the numerator and denominator for the 0/0 indeterminate form). Ultimately you have to "know" in some fashion the behavior of ln(x) about x=1.