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21 March, 2002

Weary eyes, anxious hearts and hopeful heads arrive at the airport during the dark, early morning. It was departure time for the trip and we were hoping this was not another dress rehearsal. We were ready. The morning ran smoothly with the airlines and we arrived promptly in Nome. Nome lies at the tip of the Seward Peninsula. To be tuned into more Nome facts check out my previous journal entry in November. It is a fascinating town that lies rich in the Gold Rush days of the North. Our arrival in Nome is just a few days shy of the end of the famous Iditarod Race. Tired dog mushers and their teams just arrived here at the finish line of the 1100 mile dog sled race going from Anchorage to Nome. An amazing feat.

The day was filled with our tracking and meeting up with the 2313 pounds of cargo aired earlier in the week. This included all of the food, scientific equipment and the heated sled. The snow machines were taken out of storage and all of the gear had to be strapped and tied onto the sleds. At the end of the day, a caravan of snow machines and sleds await for departure. This is it Nome, the beginning of the SnowSTAR 2002 800 mile traverse from Nome to Barrow. This is the starting line. There is no turning back now there is only time to push forward. Forward through the snow and onward to the mountains where the Arctic sky, native villages and days of cold science await us.

I did get to do my favorite duty of being a teacher as I was able to teach an hour of science class today at the Nome Junior High School. Matthew Sturm and I met up with teacher Tom Brannon and gave a talk about Snow science and the expedition. Nome High school serves grades 7-12 and has approximately 250 students. The students are a mixture of Native Alaskan and other cultural backgrounds. The students were a lot of fun to visit and they were fascinated with my NC life as I was equally fascinated with their Alaska life. One thing is certain, snow machining is by far the favorite winter sport here in Nome!!!

It is time to start plotting me and the SnowSTAR 2002 expedition on the maps. Today marks the starting point so here are the first longitude and latitude coordinates. The coordinates of our camp will be posted on the journals daily. My classes in NC as well as many other classes will be plotting our route on their maps. Here are first coordinates!!! Have fun!!

Longitude: 64.50011 degrees North

Latitude : 165.41460 degrees West

Great students in Nome!!

Mr.Brannon's seventh grade Science Class in Nome.

Before we set out for the rural native villages, we thought it would be a good idea to check with the Nome Health Center on preventive guidelines for Hepatitis. There is a high percentage of Hepatitis in the entire state of Alaska. Have no worry - we received our guidelines of thorough hand washing and clean water to drink and we were off on our way!!! Pictured from left to right is the SnowSTAR 2002 team along with our great ladies at the Health Service. Thanks for all of the help and great wishes for a safe journey! Left to right: Glen Liston, Ken Tape, Eric Pyne, Jon Holmgren, and Matthew Sturm.

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