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> Logistics and gear
Leslie_Pierce
post Jun 7 2005, 06:16 PM
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How will I get out on the tundra on the edge of the Arctic Ocean? What do I need to bring with me? That was the focus of my logistics teleconference on June 2nd with Janet from ARCUS, Jill from VECO, and Brian Person.

First, getting out to the study site presents problems. The snow is melting and the tundra is thawing so going by snowmachine as we did in May is not feasible. The tundra landscape in the summer is pockmarked with tiny lakes and water-filled tundra polygons or polygon-shaped pieces of ground. (More on tundra polygons coming soon!) The tundra is too soggy for snowmachine travel or any mechanical ground travel. The delta area where we will be working also consists of a network of braided channels taking the water from the Ikpikpuk River to Smith Bay. These braided channels are shallow and constantly changing which makes it difficult for boat travel. So, how will I get there? Helicopter! Iíve never been in a helicopter and it sounds very exciting. (It brings to mind the many MASH episodes that I have watched.)

How do you call for a helicopter ride? Is it like calling for a taxi? Sort of, except that itís much more expensive and my ride depends on their schedule and availability not mine! Many scientists share helicopter time during the short summer research season and the helicopters stay very busy. We will be able to communicate by satellite phone with people in Barrow and Fairbanks who will help to coordinate our pickups. It sounds complicated to me, but Iíll plan on being prepared for whatever happens. There are other factors involved besides the helicopter schedule, like weather conditions. So, Iíll be ready with my ARCUS survival training! (For emergencies, we also have our satellite phones and PLBís or Personal Locator Beacons. If a PLB is activitated, a message is automatically sent to a national center which in turn alerts the local Search and Rescue.) The plan right now is for us to get out to the Snow Goose study site on July 11th and back to Barrow around July 23rd. A second trip to participate in the Snow Goose banding project will leave on August 1st and weíll be back to Barrow on the 4th. I greatly appreciate all of the time and effort it is taking to get me into the field. Thanks to ARCUS, VECO, BASC (Barrow Arctic Science Consortium), and the North Slope Borough!

Second, what kind of gear will I need? Weíll be camping so Iíll need a tent, sleeping bag, pad, ground cloth, backpacking cook stove, and my own cooking utensils. Brian and I will shop for food in Barrow and bring everything with us. (Canít forget the chocolate, but we wonít have campfires so I donít need to bring the marshmallows for roasting!) As far as clothing goes, I need to be prepared for weather that can range from freezing to 50 or 60 degrees, everything from a down jacket to a rain jacket. And, remember the tundra is very wet, so I will have to walk around during our sampling and vegetation surveys in hip waders. Iím looking for some right now that fit well for hiking. One more thing that I canít leave home without, my mosquito jacket! Iíve seen mosquitoes before but I think that this trip will expose me to hoards that dwarf my previous experiences! All of the standing water on the tundra provides plenty of mosquito habitat.

Everything will need to fit into large dry bags and go out with me on the helicopter. If I forget something, I do without it. HmmmÖ..I better go now so I can check my list again! Talk to you later.
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Leslie_Pierce
post Jun 8 2005, 08:30 PM
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I was thinking that some of you may be interested in planning a camping or backpacking trip in the Arctic tundra. If so, here is my gear list that you can use for your own planning. Happy TRECing!


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Attached File  TREC_Barrow_Remote_gear.doc ( 81.5k ) Number of downloads: 74
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