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> Sunday, June 25th, 2006, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Tracy_Alley
post Jun 26 2006, 07:28 AM
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On Sunday, June 25th, I prepared for my last great adventure at Toolik Lake Research Station. After breakfast, we drove to one of the many places where you can enter the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or ANWR to hike. ANWR has nine million gorgeous acres of land where people can hike, canoe, or camp. We entered a place called Atigun River Gorge for a three mile hike into the gorge. There was a nice breeze blowing, and the temperature was perfect in the high sixties. It was perfect hiking weather. Since there was a nice breeze blowing, we did not need to contend with the mosquitoes. If the mosquitoes had pestered us today, I would have titled my journal “The Mosquito – My Nemesis”. biggrin.gif

Our hike totaled six miles today. We walked on heath tundra, tussock tundra, wet sedge tundra, and shrub tundra. We had lunch on a hillside of slate overlooking the beautiful Atigun River. We found an abundance of geodes and fossils on one of our treacherous climbs. The following pictures are some of the views I observed today.
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We were as close to Dall sheep as I may ever be in the wild. When they spot people or other animals, they flee to the rocky cliffs. The picture below shows one of the many herds of sheep we observed today. We studied them with binoculars as well. You need to look closely to see them.
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Dall sheep are found mainly in Alaska. They are the only wild white sheep in the world. The following is a picture I photographed of one of their many well worn trails we observed. Look very closely and you will see it.
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I observed stunning views today in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It was my last adventure at Toolik Lake. I leave for Prudhoe Bay (also called Deadhorse) tomorrow morning at 6:30am on the “Toolik Taxi”. I will write a journal entry about my tour of the oil fields and the Arctic Ocean as well as a journal entry about my long journey home. I hope I fly over Mount McKinley or Mount Denali. The final two journal entries will be posted on Tuesday evening.

Interesting facts about Alaska:

Biologists in Alaska once cut a core down into the tundra and found sixteen different species of moss! (National Geographic, August 1992)

Caribou may lose one quart of blood a week to the ravenous insects.

Mt. McKinley or Mt. Denali stands at 20, 320 feet – nothing higher exists in North America.
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