Tuesday, August 11, 2015

fun day here and more pics from Barrow!

 got a call today from one of the artists we met in Barrow.  he said he was in Anchorage and had a baleen basket for me.  the first price he gave me was a bit steep then we got it down 1/3 of the cost.  so i met him and bought it.  he had more stuff there, but i had spend enough on stuff in the past few weeks.  really need to pull a few OT shifts, get my savings account padded up a bit.  i have always loved the baskets and the craftsmanship that goes into them.
 hung my scrimshawed baleen piece in my guest room this evening as well.  looks good.
 there are a few of these distance markers in town.  this old church was pretty of course.  these are from our first walk around the town when we arrived, before we ran into new friend Kathleen and she drove us all around.
 it was cloudy and a bit drizzly.  a few flowers around for us to enjoy.  those are whale ribs and looks like a scapula as well.
 old stuff laying about is pretty common.
 met Wally today luckily as the pizza place we planned to meet at was no longer there. obviously i do not go to the mall often.  i saw him walking from quite a distance and recognized him.  haha.  he was as full of laughter as he was in the store.  that town is filled with super nice folks.  met a few more at work the other day....super nice. they were trying to convince me to move there and work at the hospital.  walking the dogs would be pretty dull and scary with all the polar bears that wander through.
 walking with the concern of grizzly and black bears is enough for me.  besides, at least they go to sleep for a good chunk of the year.  the polar bears can get you year round and they see you as a meal whereas the other bears just see you as a bother most of the time.
 these cool old boats were laying around.  there wasn't any harbor that i saw.  Wally said he'd bought a new boat while in town here and was planning on driving the boat all the way up to Prudhoe Bay and then putting it in the water and taking it over to Barrow from there.  the truck and trailer would go on a barge i guess or he could wait until winter settles in and take the ice roads over to get it
 old whaling boats no doubt.  it's just a different world up there.  for sure a different Alaska from the one i live here in the big city.
 you can see the fall colors in the grasses around the boats here.  they are calling for up to 5 inches of snow already up in the Brooks range.  a few years back we drove the haul road to Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay.  we had ice fog in Atigan Pass but overall did okay weather wise.  we went mid August.
 i'm already feeling some depression setting in knowing that the walrus cam will be down soon.  boo hoo.  really have loved being able to check in on the walrus all summer.  it sounds good that explore.org and the Annenberg Foundation will help out again next year.  beyond that...well i guess i have to keep up the pressure on Fish and Game and Government officials.  sent a letter and email to the POTUS this week and really should start work on another commentary piece.  would be nice to have that timed for the Presidents visit...not that he will read my letters or contact me, but you never know until you put it out there.
 when this all was getting started i had to laugh as i got a call from what my caller ID said was "the capitol of the United States" that was from someone in one of our Senator's office.  so they do read the stuff or at least someone does and they occasionally respond.  sadly, that Senator got voted out and now we have an idiot that took his place.  that was a very sad day indeed.
 this is another boat waiting to have seal skin stretched over it.  i'm actually happy and amazed that they still do use these seal skin boats.  nice to see some of the old ways continued.   i know they use more modern means of actually killing the whales.  can't imagine what a scene that was in the old days...of course, i find myself wondering how these folks got the idea to go kill whales anyway...i mean it's a lot of meat yes, but they are huge...who looks at those huge things and takes a little boat like this out to take that on.  seems nuts.
 saw this other really cool kayak as well.  this is a skin boat as well.  pretty amazing and it has a pretty small hole in it.  fear i would get totally stuck in there.
 pretty awesome!!
 this guy and his brothers place were pretty wild.  i guess this is a museum and you have to make an appointment. it's kind of more like a hoarders place in some ways.  i felt bad as i know Val was more game to check it out than i was.  i told her to call and set it up...i'd go if she set it up.  she didn't call though i don't think.
 old caribou antlers by a seal skin boat
 another of those mileage marker things.
 this one was by the sign i posed in on that top photo.  this was across from the airport.
 here is a seal skin boat with the actual seal skin on it..then it was painted white.
 obligatory airport photo op
 and our hotel. for the remoteness i really felt like it was reasonably priced as was the car rental. we were pleasantly surprised.
 many big trash bins were painted up.  they don't have individual trashcans at the houses instead they have these larger bins.  they do watch for polar bears and try and shoo them out of town if they come.  if they become a big problem they shoot them i guess.  Churchill, Canada had a bear jail.  if they became a problem they would dart them and put them in bear jail.  they would not feed them at all and would just release them when the ice came in.
 flowers and boardwalk near the high school.
 after i met up with Wally, i picked up TO.  we headed to Portage.  we got there a bit early for the Tunnel.  i paid but then we figured we had enough time to walk out to Byron Glacier. she thought we had way more time than i did...that was because she was going by the clock on my radio...of course, i rarely change that clock when the time change happens and so half the year i just adjust the time in my head.  basically, we missed the tunnel through to Whittier so had to wait a bit again.
 we passed the time and hit the next tunnel.
 TO had never been up to the Portage hike from the Whittier side.  the berries were mostly picked off already.  there were blueberries at the top though and we found a few salmonberries so TO was happy i think.  she loved the views at the top.  they are pretty amazing.  the day turned out lovely.
 more of the boardwalk.  it is flat in Barrow.
 very flat.  there are a few pingo's.  i'd have to look that up again.  we saw many pingo's as we drove the top part of the haul road.
 they have to do with permafrost and freezing and ice pushing up or something.
 lots of variety of little shorebirds.  very sorry, my bird identifying skills are limited.
 wild poppy...my flower skills are better since i took that wildflower course earlier this summer in Denali
 many yards look like this with snowmachines and 4 wheelers and...a dog.
 not sure what this thing is but it does look pretty cool
 a nicer home...the houses are up on these pilings. this is to keep the home from melting the permafrost.  melting the permafrost tends to result in uneven settling and sinking i think.
 these large sleds are all over.  i think they are used more in the winter months. i can see the runners on the bottom. this one was adapted for dogs.  the snowmachines and 4 wheelers are very common modes of transportation in all seasons.  i'm sure cheaper  due to gas prices as well.
 dog and seal skin boat...common around houses
 and whale vertebrae.
 liked these daisy variety. again you can see the fall colors coming onto these stems already
 pretty house.
 the fire hydrants were on these big things. not sure what was up with that.
 dog house/boat...very common.
Alaska cotton.  
 liked this toy truck by the building
 this was also common though often you would see these meat drying racks on the roofs rather than by the house.  probably seal?  though i'm not sure.
 interesting abode.
 and here we are posing in one of the touristy sites in Barrow.  guess i better change my bed and climb in it.  hope you are enjoying the Barrow pictures.
grateful for:  1. all the support for WARIS on the explore.org site.  kind words have come our way and you have no idea how much that helps.  2.  beautiful days like today 3.  native art...and happy people from Barrow.  it is tempting to move north some days.


  1. Still loving the Barrow photo. The hydrants aren't up like that due to high winds sweeping I across the long fetch when sea ice gets to shore. Putting them up tends to keep them out of drifts as the snow piles up in case of winter fire so you can find the hydrant.

    And that's exactly what a pingo is.

  2. Excellent Pictures and story Betsy!