Friday, March 30, 2007

Annual Ice Drilling Trip

I was out of town for work the past week. I went up north with 2 co-workers for our annual ice measurement trip where we drill holes in rivers/lakes between Fairbanks and the Arctic ocean. The data is useful for the ice breakup forecasts we issue in the spring and it also provides us with a climatological record of spring ice thicknesses. I figured I would just throw some pics here on the blog since the scenery is quite nice up north. We also stopped at a handful of weather observering stations that we maintain.

The AK Pipeline winds south across the tundra from the Arctic Ocean and approaches the Brooks Range

Drilling ice at Grayling Lake in the Brooks Range

This is the Davis Weather station we installed at the Chandalar Shelf Department of Transportation road maintenance camp. This is just on the south side of the continental divide near Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range.

We saw a bunch of caribou roaming freely on the arctic coastal plain.

Mountain goats chilling out in Atigun Pass

A red fox greets me in the morning

Headed down to drill ice on the mighty Yukon River

The AK Pipeline winds northward into the Brooks Range below Mt Sukapak

Crossing the Arctic Circle - latitude 66 degrees 33 minutes

Here is our river/weather observers (the Helmericks) house on the Colville River delta about 2 miles from the Arctic Ocean. This is an extreme climate with cold, windy dark winters and cool foggy summers. They live well north of the treeline in the arctic tundra near the northern edge of the continent.

The only way to access the Helmericks house is via a 10km snowmachine ride from the westermost oil field pad in Prudhoe Bay.

One of the only places to stay along the road north is at the Coldfoot truckstop. Here is what you get for 150 bucks/night--a piece of crap set of attached ATCO trailer units.

And a view of the luxury rooms for $150/night -- what a shit hole for the price!

Someone tried to duct tape the wound that eventually killed the tree

Brad and Ron do some maintenance to the precip can in the historical mining community of Wiseman

An old Pepsi machine in front of our observers cabin in Wiseman looks a little "out of place"

A turn of the century cabin in Wiseman

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