Preparations, papers, and last minute details are filling the days and nights right now. On Wednesday morning we’ll be off from it all, headed across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. We hope you’ll follow along.
Our route will take us first from Fairbanks to Circle by truck on the Steese Highway. In Circle we’ll load up all the snowmobiles and sleds and head off on a trip that will take us from the banks of the Yukon River to Toolik Field Base Station on the North Slope of Alaska across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and about 1000 miles of Alaska. From Circle the trip outline is this – we’ll drive downriver on the mighty Yukon river’s ice, turn right at Fort Yukon to head up the Porcupine River river, and take a left when we reach the confluence of the Porcupine and the Coleen. From there, we will drive up to the headwaters of the Coleen, break west and going through a pass, into the headwaters of the Sheenjek river, then hope one more river basin to ultimately join the upper Chandalar river basin. Desperately low on gas by this point, we’ll head south toward Arctic Village. After couple days in town, we will head north on a western fork of the Chandalar toward a pass that will take us into through the core of the Brooks Range and into the Canning River Basin. Just before we exit the northern foothills of the mountains, we will cut East across the mountains to Peters and Schrader Lakes, where we will open out onto the North Slope. That will be the end of the smooth part of the ride in soft snow as we cut out across hard wind packed snow toward the US-Canada border. After revisiting some old sites, we will turn our snowmobiles West and ride along the Arctic Ocean coast to a refueling stop in Kaktovik. A few more days driving west and we will join two new comers at the Deadhorse airport (Prudhoe Bay) who will join the team for the last series of measurements. The last stretch will take us South to Toolik Lake, right at the foothills of the Brooks Range where we will survey our long term intense snow-sampling site at Imnavait Creek. When all the science is done, it will be time to load the machines on trailers and take to the road on the Dalton highway, a ride among the hauling trucks linking Prudhoe and the rest of the world.
So let’s hit the snow!