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> Sauna, Yes--a sauna
Tom_Crumrine
post Jun 23 2005, 03:30 AM
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22 June 2005

It appears as though everyone has survived the Solstice and is ready for the march towards another winter. I have been told that I was wrong about losing 7 minutes a day in this area--that was for Fairbanks. For here is actually would be a little longer. Donie's husband Peter Ray let me know that it would be August until we begin to see darkness in this area.

The temperature today was fairly cool. We even came in from the field for lunch to warm up which doesn't happen too often. I'm told that this cooler weather is more typical of what it is like in this area. The super warm temperatures don't always happen.

Toolik has become more and more comfortable as the years have passed by. From the early days when there was still a camp of road workers nearby to today when I am stuffed from an amazing Thanksgiving dinner on a Wednesday. Now there is a dorm with a flush toilet and carpet and a shower. In the past though they had three outhouses and no showers. They also had dorms called ATCO trailers--those are exactly what they sound like and exactly what they look like. They look as though a semi took off too fast and the trailer was left behind. In my mind those are the best but that's just my opinion. Those are different from my weatherport which is more of a temporary structure.

But the focus of today's email is how they used to clean up before there were showers. Basically it all has to do with water. Water conservation remains a concern (as it should everywhere but that's another story) since it costs $0.75 to send all grey water and black water to Prudhoe Bay where it is processed. Enter the sauna. Down by the lake in a semi secluded setting is a sauna powered by a wood burning stove. As you can see it is just a regular wood burning stove that heats up a home built room. The construction is great--all I'm saying is that you could very easily make one in your back yard like I am going to do when I return to New Hampshire.

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Here is how the system works. You sit in the sauna and heat up to around 160 until you feel you get the feeling that you are starting to cook a bit, then you go outside. While you have been steaming the stove has been heating up a 45 gallon plastic bin of water outside. This water has been drawn from super clean Toolik Lake. You can use the warmed water to soap up then you can use it again to rinse off. Then back into the sauna for more. A the end you can run down the dock and jump in for an amazingly refreshing dip into the lake.

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I think it is a fantastic way to keep clean(ish) and I much prefer it to the shower. I even saw someone going to the real showers this morning and I had the thought that they were cheating. I know it is just their preference and that's fine--I'm just going to keep taking saunas. All I need to do now is insert a beautiful lake in my back yard area somewhere.
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Leslie_Pierce
post Jun 23 2005, 02:14 PM
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Yes, I agree! The sauna sounds better than a regular old shower.
Of course, either one would be nice out at the Ikpikpuk River delta.
After 2 weeks, I might just jump into the river water!

Enjoy your last few days in the sauna!

Leslie
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