19 July, 1998

7/19/98 Tim and Aaron's Excellent Adventure

*** Slept in until 10 A.M. - The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise arrives - we take a four-wheeler trip to Utica and beyond - The Mayor's molars ***

Today was Sunday, which is our day off, so I slept in until 10 A.M. We sat around and talked over coffee then Gilbert Barr (the Mayor) stopped in to announce that he could see our barge out on Kotzebue Sound. On closer inspection through binoculars the ship proved to be the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. The same ship visited Deering last year and its crew interviewed village residents trying to record native observations with regard to climate change. This year the ship has returned to share its findings with village residents. The entire village was invited to tour the ship at its moorings two and a half miles out in the sound. Greenpeace sent out one of its Zodiacs and met us on the shore by the river to ferry us out to Arctic Sunrise. Pretty soon the ship was almost completely Deering, including dozens of small children and a dog. We had a tour of the ship, saw displays and a video. The ship's galley provided snacks for everyone and even a cake for little Rebecca Jones who turned 10 today. At 5:50 P.M. we went over to Alvin Iyatunguk's and Bonita Barr's

house where we met Stephanie and Corrine Barr and Robert and Denise Iyatunguk. The eight of us along with five young children sped off on 4 four-wheelers onto the Tundra for the mining Ghost town of Utica. What a great trip! We saw Musk Oxen in the wild, three decaying mining dredges, beautiful scenery and the decaying ghost town of Utica. Utica was a bustling town in its heyday, and although it was abandoned over twenty years ago, you get the feeling that people just left yesterday. Equipment sits around everywhere and at least looks as though it could start right up. The machine shop is wide open with all of its tools and the parts shed still has bins full of parts The whole trip was fantastic and we didn't get home until 10:30 P.M. After we returned from the trip we returned Delores Barr's Honda four-wheeler that we had borrowed for the trip. We stopped into help her and her husband Gilbert Barr (the Mayor) photograph their collection of Pleistocene ivory. We used the digital camera that we have for this web page to photograph his exquisite collection of Wooly Mammoth tusks and molars. Although he has collected hundreds he had us photograph only the best three or four dozen. What a sight!


Today was packed, even though we didn't get up until 10:00 AM. The barge is here, which also means our four-wheeler is here. When Greenpeace came, we all took a tour of the boat. It was so great to actually see Greenpeace in action after seeing them so many times on TV, sending them stuff in the mail, and hearing about them in the news. So far on this trip we've heard conflicting views on global warming; the people in Barrow said there is no conclusive proof of global warming while Greenpeace argued the opposite point. But after Greenpeace's convincing empirical evidence it was hard to disagree with them. They say that they went down to Antarctica and the people there said that they had to re-map the Ross Ice Shelf because so much ice has melted. They were even able to steam in farther than they've ever been able to. While we were on the boat, a whale was spotted by the villagers and they took off in pursuit, right in front of the Greenpeace boat, but they were unsuccessful.

Then we were out on an amazing tour of the countryside. The aura of gold was prevalent as we passed abandoned dredges, ranches, and even whole towns. As the sun was heading towards the horizon, it cast a light on the landscape that made all the pictures I've seen of gold-mining days seem to come alive. I really like Alaska.

The Arctic Sunrise.

The ghost town of Utica.

Tim in an old Gold Dredge.

A muskox browsing.

Some of Mayor Gilbert Barr's tusk collection--Pleistocene Wooly Mammoth ivory.

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