Friday, June 30, 2006

I ended up taking a picture on my way to bed: Here's a view from my lab at ~2:15 am.
As I was walking back to the lab amid some late night sampling, I looked around and thought how I should take a picture to share with you how much more tolerable it is to work late nights when it's still light out at 12:30am. However, when I got to my lab, I discovered that not one, but both of the doors had been accidentally locked. I tried kicking on the doors in the hopes that someone was still up, to no avail. So I went on a 20 minute man-hunt to find the night owl assistant manager to let me in. I finally tracked down which fine trailer was his. However, now I am in a race to finish my incubations and filtrations so I can get some sleep tonight! At least tomorrow's field day is starting at a reason time- I don't think I'll be in bed before 2 am. In short, maybe I'll take a picture late tomorrow night instead.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A brief photo history of my summers above the Arctic Circle:

Summer 2005: So damn dry that I had trouble setting up experiments in lake inlets and outlets. Highlights included lots of crazy costume parties including an "all women" bridal shower. Went swimming in the Arctic Ocean again- this time in nothing but my Tevas.
Summer 2004: Much warmer. Highlights included an overnight trip to the base of "Mystical" in ANWR. Yes, it is that buggy. Probably my favorite summer up here.
Summer 2003: Still pretty cold and snowy. Hiking trips to China Valley and the top of Jade Mountain.
Summer 2002: Slipped on an icy boardwalk and sprained my wrist. Super snowy and cold! Visited Atigun Gorge several times and went swimming in the Arctic Ocean.
Here is one of our beautiful sunsets over Toolik Lake (from August 2004). We won't see the sun set up here until the end of July- the sun is just circling overhead right now. Personally, I no longer have a problem sleeping any time of day, despite the light. No insomnia for me! People come up with various solutions to cover up windows to keep the light out or just work so hard that they fall asleep anywhere. When I first started working up here I became so trained to sleeping whenever it was dark, that I had quite a problem when we drove down to Fairbanks and went to see a movie! I was out like a light.
Some more tundra flowers! Moss campion, Silene acaulis. These little ones are found on a heathy hillslope in very large areas.

These are Arctic Avens, Dryas integrifolia.
The summer growing season is so short here that flowers often change so quickly that you might see entirely different flowers the next time you go out in the field! This year we should see some different plants- last year was so very dry and this year has been quite wet so far. At least that means there will be water for me to sample this summer!
Here are a couple of pictures from a nearby aufeis at Galbraith Lake. We went for a short hike there on Sunday and played around all of the ice formations. It was actually sunny and gorgeous out. I'll have to post some more realistic pictures of our field site so y'all don't think I'm on vacation up here in the middle of nowhere!

Aufeis is German for "ice on top" and forms from streams or springs causing ice to form over existing ice. In the summer up here, this ice melts back partially to reveal very cool formations as well as bridges of ice over the running stream. Needless to say, the water there is very cold- and my feet were pretty sore when I attempted to wade barefoot over some pretty sharp rocks. Still haven't figured out why injuries hurt more when you're already freezing.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Tundra flowers. White arctic mountain heather, Cassiope tetragona.

I arrived at the field station on June 17th, just as the sun started to shine for the first time in at least a week. I'll be up here doing research until mid- August. A short 8 week stint this time around. Well, shorter than previous summers at least.

After our adventures around Anchorage, we took the train northward, spending the night in Talkeetna on our way to the fair city of Fairbanks. We were lucky to see McKinley and the observation deck provided fabulous views.

Here's my mom holding a really big chunk of ice that fell off of Aialik Glacier (Kenai Fjords N.P., near Seward, Alaska).

I have a bit of catching up to do, so there will likely be numerous posts in these first few days (although I am starting a really big experiment tomorrow).

Butchart Gardens in Victoria- Tibetan Blue Poppy and a crazy Peony.

To get to Victoria, my lab mate and I took the train from Ann Arbor, MI all the way to Seattle. We were able to spend a bit of time there visiting with friends before we hopped on a ferry all the way to Victoria.

Thanks to this cross-country trip, I now only have nine more states to see in order to meet my goal of seeing all fifty states before I turn 30. Left to see in the next 19 months:

Arkansas, West Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida

Well, inspired by a labmate's blog for her hometown newspaper, I figured maybe I should give a "real life" blog a shot. Hopefully I'll be sharing photos and stories from my various adventures.

This first photograph is from Victoria, B.C. where I recently attended my first professional conference. I was very excited to attend because my advisor prefers that we not go to these unless we are well established in our research (and therefore close to finishing).