15 May 2007

biking in denali

last weekend Blaine, Katie, Jason and I headed down to go biking in Denali NP before the park road opens up to the busses. during the off-season you can drive your own vehicle in to Teklaneka, which is about mile 30 on the road. from there we were hoping to maybe make it out to Polychrome Pass, which looked like a pretty good possibility until we got closer and closer to Sable Pass.....

needless to say, it was a bit snowy! there was some hail, some snow, some wind, lots of mud. we had a great time despite making a short distance. good company, good scenery, and good exercise, heading up the pass! i think i may have hit my pedals twice on the entire way down...we ate a good amount of mud
katie and blaine biking across the Teklaneka River
Jason checking out the sow grizzly and cub on the banks of the river. Note that he is covered in mud. i {heart} being covered in mud!

the bears on the river for all the tourists to see...Jason drove home and we talked while Katie and Blaine passed out hard. We had just stopped at Rosa's Cafe on the Parks Hwy for dinner (which is usually quite good, but rather disappointing this time around. i don't recommend the halibut dinner... four fishsticks will not sufficiently feed two people, come to find out.)

09 May 2007

some serious northern exposure.

this last week i headed up north. really north - to toolik field station north of the brooks range.
here, of course, is my picture next to the sign declaring that we were at the arctic circle. come to find out some friends have GPS'd this sign, and it isn't really spot on. but i'm not going to split hairs here - there's no doubt that around this point at some time we crossed the line. and i now have joined the hoards with the same picture, different person, to prove it.

to get up to Toolik I drove with some guys heading up from Fairbanks to do various GIS/sampling tasks for a week. the road is several hundred miles long, largely dirt. not being authorized i couldn't help on the driving. honestly that was really quite nice- jason and andrew were fabulous in getting us up and back safely, and i was happy to not have to dodge huge trucks barreling down in the other direction.

andrew acted as a great tour guide up and back, having himself done the trip approximately a billion times. not only has he driven back and forth, but has spent a great deal of time off exploring and was a wealth of knowledge.

alright- this is a terrible picture of toolik. but really it is a bunch of outbuildings in a compound up just north of the brooks range. it was one of the coolest science facilities that i have spent time at. the staff was great, the food was *incredible*, and all in all i was disappointed to not have more work to do up there. one week was fabulous, but it would be well worth more time.

science certainly was done while i was there, but additionally ken and i got out to have some fun.
we took a half day and got a ride to adigun gorge where we hiked in to a really great waterfall. indeed, this was hiking within the arctic national wildlife refuge. i can now say, i've been to anwr, but this can't even begin to scratch the surface. it was incredible, and well deserving of a great deal of time....i'll definitely be back.

it had snowed the day before, and the sheep trails were super highlighted along the sides of the mountains

this giant frozen waterfall came out of a hole! there's no scale here, but it was at least 40 ft high (i'm terrible at this kind of estimating...i could be way off, but it was big. really really big)

ken scrambled up to try to capture the sheep trails. and i captured him trying to do this. note the rubber boots...maybe this is common up north, but it's the first time i've spent so much time in rain boots without any rain.

a view from our lunch spot.

the necessary self-portrait.

another day we skiied out to check out some overflow. caribou = everywhere

please note that camping opportunities abound.

willows trapped in the overflow.

many many thanks to ken for such a great week!!!
music was played. buds were counted, buds were lost, science happened.
i greatly appreciated the ideas and thoughts throughout the week that went back and forth
please stay tuned for a ground-breaking paper on ptarmigan and willows...so much counting must count for something.