North America | United States of America (USA) | Alaska – Arctic Circle and beyond
Hello hello…..I am writing form about 69′ North latitude!! pretty crazy….it’s above tree line (64′) which is soo weird becuase there are no trees, not one as far as the eye can see….Right now we are staying at the Toolik Research station in between Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge! it is pretty amazing, you can see the Brooks Range off in the distance which is spectacular, especially at a certain time of night (around midnight) when the sun hits it soo beautifully!
I realize that it has been a while since I last wrote… when i do get to the internet, it has been soo long that i have soo many messages, junk mail and otherwise that the thought of typing anymore makes my hands hurt!! but here is a quick recap….after Dawson City we headed further into Yukon Territory first going to a new Territorial park called Tombstone where we hiked and backpacked for about 4 days…after that we went to a place called Whitehorse which was jsut a bizzard town. From there we headed to Kluane where we stayed at the Arctic Research Institute which was that funky place where grad students and the like were conducting various experiments out in the field…It was nice being able to talk to other people outside our small group….We then did a 3 day backpack into Burwash landing where it rained for most of the time….but it was all worth is becuase the dwarf blueberries were in bloom so we had a tasty treat to add to our otherwise boring oatmeal!! we made a base camp there and the 6 students did a day hike one day to this amazing mountain called amphetheater where we found these bizzard rocks in the shape of perfect balls as well as fossilized leaves from millions of years ago!!! after that we headed back into Alaska where we went directly to Fairbanks which is an altogehter weird place….luckily the people who took us dip netting for the copper river salmon (i wrote about them before) licve in Fairbanks and offered us the use of their home….which was such a nice treat as they live back in the woods outside the city. they are such amazing people, (Barry and Patty) if i didnt convey that message before….they open their house to students and professors like ourselves and give us free range of everything they have; use of their kitchen internet phone everything!!! they even took us out boating on these rafts and we floated down the Chena River. For lunch we stopped at this bluff where the last time they went, his brother found a muskox horn and a mammoth tooth. This time Barry found a fossilied Bison fimer…pretty cool!!! Patricia, our Professors TA left on the 25th to go back to the Galapogos which was very sad, but we made her a cake and a nice card with a picture of all of us so she could keep us close! Before we left Fairbanks we met with a director of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge who gave us an inspirational presentation about the orgins of the refuge and why it was founded in teh 50s..it gave me goosebumps and almost brought me to tears….When we left Fairbanks we headed for the Arctic Circle and drove all day on the Hall Road which is not mush of a road to say the least…it follows the pipeline and was originally not supposed to be open to the public, but if a roads there people are going to drive on it sadly…..but on the way up we stopped at this man jacks house in a place called wiseman, this little town off the road. he is a trapper but ended up being this brilliant maverick of a guy who told us all about not only the inevitable drilling in the Refuge, but also the upcoming issue regarding ATV us in the Refuge and national park… talk about inspirational, he crammed us with soo much information that i feeel as though i forgot half of it…he also is about 80% self sustaining using solar power and catching all his own meat and growing an amazing garden!!! by the time we lefft there we were all roaring, ready to write our congressmen and women!!! sadly our outrage with the governmetn switched to outrage at the tire company when we got a flat tire and we realized that one of the spares (you have to have more than one fore this road) did not fit the wheel!!!! so we had to change the tire and eventually kept on…however about 30 minutes later we had to pull over once again and got out of the car to see not a flat tire but a shredded tire!!!! with no other spare we had to make camp ont eh side fo the road, right next to the pipeline…we were soo lucky though because a trucker stopped and fixed the first flat so we could leave in the morning….oh iforget to mention that on this road there are no services..notiong for about 300 miles (no joke)…..the next morning we woke up to the sound of swarming mosquitos and to our horror lookd out the tent and saw the whole vestibule of the tent covered in the biting buggers!!! ahhhhhh!!!! the mosquitos have arrived or we have arrived in their territory i should say!!! oh man oh man its intense!!!! good thing my mom sent me up here with thsi mosquito suit….you laugh but it has saves my life and i prettty much live in it as fashionable as that sounds!!! so that day we piled into the car once again and drove to a trailhead where we packed our stuff and hit the trail into Gates ogf the Arctic where we did a 3 day backpack (about 20 miles). becuase the terraine is rather difficult to walk in (rather marshy with basketball type tuffs of grass) I got two pretty bad blisters on my heals which havent seemed to go away since not being in my boots..this thought is rahter depressing as today we are headed out once again for a 4 night backpack into the Refuge…..but i am soo excited these next two weeks (not just for this to be over)but for the refuge and Denali…savign teh best for last!!!! im really anxious to get into the refuge because our last project is writing our government and spreading the word about teh awful, devestating plans they have for this region…so when i get back i want to put together a presentation to offer the community to show they the great threat the oil company and atv use will have on not only the land, but the animals and people that inhabit this part of the world and depend on this sensitive ecosystem for survival…..sooo look forward to that and please be ready to call your governments and tell them that you dont want the last fronteir as they call it to be jsut another piece of land (that was once beautiful WILDERNESS)that the governmetn exploits for the allmighty dollar………..until next time much love peace and pura vida