Thursday, August 17, 2006

With the assistance of my officemate, I discovered the search function here on blogger. We typed in "Toolik" and up popped several personal blogs dealing with research and life at the station- some of which are quite unprofessional. I've known about the dangers of posting online, but I never really considered it to be a problem. However, we found a blog by an employee of a company that deals with many of us at the station where the employee rants about an associate of ours. Now, if it had been me, I know I would make sure that the person's employer knew about this as well as the camp management. It's definitely over the line. If you are going to post something like that, you'd better make sure you know who is reading your blog.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My last night in camp, we had the grand opening of the pub art gallery, with the exhibit "Lost Antlers", complete with wine, cheese, and a piece of performance art. We actually had quite the range, from a line up of mosquito repellant (Safety in numbers) to a quite striking post-modern piece made of rebar, a milk crate, and rounded small rocks.

I was packing like crazy, so I took 15 minutes to bring over some silly things, including pages from a Finding Nemo coloring book several of us colored last year. It was a fun event to end the summer with, and I hope it becomes an annual event.

I left Sunday morning and met some really awesome people on the ride south. Met a friend for dinner in Fairbanks and got to see her "new" one room dry cabin. It's got potential. After a three hour nap, I headed to the airport this morning, and spent about 15 hours in airports and planes. Northwest left my bags in Chicago (including a cooler of frozen samples), but I'm home again...

well, on a friend's couch, at least.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Today was my last day of field sampling! We did the second half of the "I-series" where we get dropped off by helicopter and walk back in while sampling. We made pretty good time and were back in camp by 3 p.m. We also saw many more caribou and this small herd passed fairly close by. I was able to catch a tsik-tsik (arctic ground squirrel) watching, on guard, with a mouthful of dried grass (used for winter insulation). The mountains have been beautiful the past few days with the snow they received on Tuesday. It's still been chilly here with some rain, but luckily the sun is peeking through the clouds again.

Later, after lunch, we walked through a large patch of cloudberries, Rubus chamaemorus. Apparently, some other people ahead of us ate most of the ripe ones, but we were still able to sample a few.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dramatic much?
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? The package arrived tonight with one of our lab members. The helicopter also broke and everyone is blaming it on me.

Not only are there few people in camp, but everything is the end of the world and in the evenings we just wander around camp, aimlessly... Yup, it must be August.
Please excuse me while I go run down the haul road.

I just found out that a key package was shipped up here on the Lyndon truck. If there is anyway to guarantee that a package won't arrive quickly, it's to put it on a Lyndon truck. The next two days we are scheduled to go sampling on the helicopter with a large group, and I need that package. Now imagine me muttering around camp.
Nice rack.
The past week has been a blur, with many parties and the internet and phones going out for two days (courtesey of lightening storms). There was a bachelorette party, a metal birthday party, a couple of going away parties and a tropical luau. Yesterday I actually got to leave camp in a truck- for the second time this summer. We took a scenic drive up to Deadhorse and while the other three people went on the Prudhoe Bay/ Arctic Ocean tour I sat in the hotel doing data entry and reading the day's newspaper. Usually we get the paper a day late in camp. The drive up was a bit cloudy and we saw lots of caribou (and hunters at every pull-off).

The drive back was sunny most of the way and we did a short scouting trip (in sandals) to the Sag near the D.O.T. station. There were tons of ripe blueberries everywhere! On the way up, Christie gave us a recap of the story Hunted and so on the way back I read the last 20 pages out loud to everyone while she drove. The sun is going down around 11 pm these days (still not sure what time it rises, but I'm guessing sometime around 5 am) so it was still fairly light out when we finally made it back late last night.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oh to be half-asleep and editing a post from the night before. Here are a few new pictures. These flowers (monk's hood or wolfbane) are by the outlet to my lake. The weather keeps bouncing back and forth between sunny, nice, and warm versus cloudy, cold, and rainy. Typical Toolik.

On Sunday, I went hiking with Cody, Ken, and Alexia, desperate to get "out" of camp. We hiked up over this ridge west of Jade and had some fabulous views of the rivers and lakes west of here. On our way back around, we saw a scruffy looking fox who really wasn't that afraid of us, but kept a comfortable distance away. It's been quite the summer for wildlife up here.

In other news, I now have to share the lab with a large research group and might even have to share my room. It's been a nice, quiet, productive summer and I think I'll spending the last week and a half here with my headphones stuck in my ears.

Inspired by David: 326 days at Toolik after this season, 345 days including travel for research in Alaska, plus ~3 weeks of vacation over the years in Alaska = over a year of my life in Alaskan summers.