Wednesday, September 1, 2010

North to Deadhorse & Prudhoe Bay, Aug 29, 2010

We only had a short distance to drive this morning to visit the village of Wiseman, so our departure time was 7:30 am. We were also in for a treat to visit with Jack Reakoff, a hunter and trapper who lives in Wiseman, 63 miles north of the Arctic Circle year round. We were greeted at his front door and then invited to come inside for a chat.

IMG_3164 Inside we learned so much of how he lives here, his wealth of knowledge was unending. Notice the solar panel on his roof. He does grow a garden, it was covered to protect it from last night’s frost. He is growing some potatoes for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, ultimately there will be a patent issued for this potato for its ability to produce north of the Arctic Circle.

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He does hunt for all his meat, moose, caribou, and dall sheep.

Yesterday he and his wife and a friend from a native village to the north had each picked 5 gallons of the low bush cranberries. That is a lot of berries as they are small pea size.

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Here is Jack, on the right and our tour guide John on the left. We are in his sister’s store who also runs a bed and breakfast here in the small village of Wiseman.

Since it was Sunday morning we went along with Jack for him to start the fire in the stove in their chapel for church at 11.

IMG_3165 Here Jack is telling us about the general store and his cat Willow, is loving being petted. Willow, actually chased off a wolf form Jack yard last week, not something you want to watch, not knowing who was going to win.

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Loved this outhouse in Wiseman, especially the TP holder. Also note the crack between the boards in the pit.

It was time to hit the road north as we had over 240 miles to go. Since it was my time to ride in the front passenger seat, I was to have my ‘sheep spotting’ eyes on the watch for Dall Sheep. Soon I saw this white dot on the mountain, so we pulled over, first John did not think they were sheep, but with the help of binoculars and a spotting scope it was confirmed I had spotted 6 or 7 sheep. Yes!! Now the pressure was off for my spotting eyes.

IMG_1051 Below is an enlargement of the sheep that are in the above photo.

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As the day progressed there were several animal sighting stops, a grizzly, caribou, a muskox, a fox and many dall sheep.

IMG_3180 Here we are near to the tree line, from here all the way over the Brooks Mountains, down the north slope on into Deadhorse, no trees.

Another great boxed lunch prepared for us at the stop in Coldfoot. This one was $12.50, huge sandwich, orange, chips, cookie and beverage.

IMG_1072 Here is a muskox on the tundra. The other ones we saw were very far away.

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The structure in this photo is where we stayed the night, Deadhorse Camp.

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IMG_1110When you come in, your shoes come off.

Since we had arrived late, their evening buffet was being cleaned up, so we were given their grill menu.

Bob ended up with a reindeer sausage with peppers and onions sandwich and I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. We were assigned our respective rooms, # 14 was ours, when asked about the key, we were told, “oh, you don’t need one”. Now that is a first for us, a motel room with no key!

IMG_3225 Actually Bob and I were lucky as we were not assigned to sleep in one of these rooms. They are units mounted on huge skids that are pulled during the winter out onto the tundra so the oil companies can do seismic testing for future oil wells. The worst part about these units as their is no bathroom, you have to come inside the Inn to go. Oh, by the way, our bathrooms were just down the hall from our keyless rooms.

IMG_3253 These huge tracked vehicles do the pulling. When one of these units pull out they have kitchen cars, and sleeper cars (like above) plus all their equipment in additional cars. Sort of like a moving city.IMG_3229 Another huge rubber tracked vehicle.

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After dinner John drove us all around Deadhorse, did not take too long. This is one of the producing wells, each small building contains a ‘christmas tree’ of valves, pipes and joints to channel the incoming oil from the ground. The small building provide some protection for the workers from the sub zero temperatures of the winter.IMG_3243

Taken across Lake Colleen towards the largest oil field in the United States and 18th largest ever discovered worldwide. Check out this link some interesting facts.

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1 comment:

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

GORGEOUS Sunset!!

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