7 July, 1999
I leave for Alaska this evening. Things have been pretty relaxed for the past ten days - not what I expected. I have been involved with the Portland State University (PSU) group making preparations for this research project for the past couple of months. I was expecting us to be scurrying around until the last minute getting "gear" ready. As it turns out, most of our gear had to be ready by June 28 - a week and a half ago. That is when it was picked up and shipped to Anchorage. That is when the majority of the pre-trip scurrying ended. It was nice to have some time to catch my breath before launching into a season of field research.
Our equipment filled a large truck. It included all that would be expected to support a sizeable expedition into a remote area - tents, sleeping bags, stoves, fuel tanks, collapsible chairs and tables, various tools, tarps, pots and pans, outdoor clothing for each of us (boots, crampons, raingear, ice axes, etc.), and enough food to feed 8 people for a month. The primary scientific equipment in this shipment included such items as an inflatable boat, pressure transducers, water level measuring devices, data loggers, electrical lines, video cable, batteries, solar cells. Our first task when we arrive in Anchorage will be to pick up this shipment. In addition, we will be picking up a steam drill being shipped from Wyoming, and a stream gauge which will be arriving from California. We will then truck all of this stuff (humans included) to McCarthy, which is located approximately 300 miles east of Anchorage in the Wrangell Mountains. From McCarthy, the gear (except for the stream gauge) will be transported 12 miles up-valley to our intended base camp next to the Kennicott Glacier. This will take some time. It will likely be up to 5 days before any science related work is commenced on the glacier. You will be reading more about the results generated from this various equipment in the weeks to come.
The people I have been working with on preparations at Portland State University are graduate students Don Lindsay and Michelle Cunico, and Andrew Fountain, one of the Principal Investigators for the project. In addition, I have met Joe Walder (another PI for the project) of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Vancouver, Washington. In Anchorage we will meet up with Dennis Trabant of USGS Fairbanks, Steve Malone of University of Washington, Joel Harper of University of Wyoming, and Andrew Malm of St. Olaf College. Each of these people play an important role in the study. We will be up the Kennicott Valley studying the dynamics between the Kennicott Glacier and adjacent Hidden Creek Lake. A more specific description of the goals for the project can be viewed on my home page. In addition, aerial photographs of the field site and a brief description of the project and parcticipants can be accessed at the following website: www.geol.pdx.edu/People/AGF/kennicott.htm.
I will be making daily journal entries. However, because there will not be web access at our field site, my journal entries will probably be posted at my website on a weekly basis.
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