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Barrow, AlaskaCaribou Poker CreekLena River, SiberiaSvalbard, Norway Prince Patrick Island, Canada
Summit, Greenland
Toolik Lake | Models for the Arctic TundraPlant DiversityPollutantsSBI Project: Healy Icebreaker
 Sunday at Toolik Lake View next topic
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Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 118

PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2004 6:11 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Sunday is a day to relax and explore for many science groups and other workers at Toolik Lake Field Station, but our group along with a few others have tasks that must be done each day. That included moving the truck back to the tundra site and changing the generator oil again, as well as the usual samples and measurements. The samples and measurements we take are ground true data, and help us check to make sure the data from the instruments is accurate.

Moving the truck again

After breakfast Hahn, Halim and I packed lunches and started on a ride "up north." There is just one road and it goes in two directions, so we basically had a choice of north or south. Driving along the Dalton Highway is unique from other highways, because there are no trees to block any views, and it seems you can see forever across the tundra.

It seems like you can see forever

Naturally we were watching for bears (which we haven't seen yet) and other wildlife. We were lucky to see quite a few caribou on the way up there, some of them just relaxing by lying on the tundra. On the way back a group of 5 caribou decided to cross in front of our truck and walk along the Alaska Pipeline which was right beside the road.

Caribou along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

We ate our picnic along side the Sag River, which still had large sheets of ice on it. The ice was in thin layers, and some of it was very blue. We took pictures of common redpolls, the birds that were in the large willow shrubs that grow along the river. We kept our eyes open for grizzlies here, but saw only what looked like the remains of a caribou meal. Parts of the skeleton were near the river, while two of the hooves were closer to the road. It got colder as we drove north, so we ate our picnic in the truck.

Common Redpoll

There are no houses or towns along the way, the closest thing to settlements are Pump Station 3 and "Happy Valley." There are many pump stations along the highway where the oil traveling through the pipeline can be monitored. The people who are working to maintain the pipeline have their own little community, and stay at the pump stations when they work. Pump Station 3 means it's the third station out from the coast. Pump Station 1 is at Prudoe Bay. Happy Valley is just a little stop along the way, where there is food and souvenirs. We drove for many miles, then turned around so we could return in time to complete the evening tasks.

Happy Valley

Check out my Album to see more of the pictures we took this day.
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Toolik Field Station Lena River, Siberia Svalbard, Norway Summit, Greenland Prince Patrick Island, Canada Healy Icebreaker Caribou Poker Creek Barrow, Alaska