6 August, 1997
Nevins Journal 08/06/ 97
We left at 10:56 and I am traveling with Dr. Sam Outcalt and we have been talking about permafrost while we fly back to Anchorage to catch our flight to Dead Horse . We had a brief delay boarding because of bear repellant. A very large form of pepper spray that can be hazardous to transport. I had hoped to be able to photograph the Denali and some of the landforms in flight but it is still raining and we are in clouds again today. When we get to Dead Horse later today we will drive down to Toolik . We finally arrived in Dead Horse today and made a few stops. The first was for fuel for the trip to Toolik then we went to the general store and Post office, and finally a stop at S.A. 10 for a comfort stop prior to the 130 mile run on the Haul Road. The road is a little hard to visualize but IUll try to describe the appearance; the road is about 20 m wide made of gravel and stone piled up on the permafrost about 2 m high. The traffic on the road is a different experience, it moves at about 60 mph over a gravel surface and includes cars trucks and semi tractor trailer combinations. One car we passed had Florida plates. The pipeline runs along the road at variable distances from the road. Part of the time above ground and part of the time under ground. In addition a natural gas pipeline runs under ground near the road to supply the pump stations. Most of the natural gas in the north slope deposits is just burned off because it is not profitable to ship. (I was told that 1% of the carbon dioxide produced in the U.S.comes from this burn off.) I took photos of the Dead Horse airport and some of the facilities and then we set out down the Haul Road. At about mile 30 we stopped to photograph Franklin Bluffs and saw our first caribou at the same place. The caribou was unaware of us until about 100 m away. We were worried about the caribou getting hit by a truck but it changed direction at the last second and headed back toward the Sag. River (we canUt spell the name at the moment). Back on the road conversation had just drifted to musk ox farming and the quality of the wool produced as we headed up into the foothills. Just as the conversation shifted to the chance of seeing musk ox, there they were about 30 m off the east side of the road. An observation stop was immediately called to take photographs and for the driver to start to sketch. ( we spent about an hour near mile 80 to observe.) As we went past Slope Mountain the clouds were too low to see the dall sheep on the upper levels. The hunters that we saw were packing out caribou capes, antlers and meat about mile 90 to 110 there were several successful hunters along the road. Finally we reached Toolik lake and unloaded our equipment in the tents we will use for at least a few days. Tomorrow the plan calls for flying out to pick up at several sites that will no longer be used, measure some active layer sites and pick up the prohobo data loggers. It is 11:40 now so I am going to quit for now.
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