some serious northern exposure.

this last week i headed up north. really north - to toolik field station north of the brooks range.
here, of course, is my picture next to the sign declaring that we were at the arctic circle. come to find out some friends have GPS'd this sign, and it isn't really spot on. but i'm not going to split hairs here - there's no doubt that around this point at some time we crossed the line. and i now have joined the hoards with the same picture, different person, to prove it.

to get up to Toolik I drove with some guys heading up from Fairbanks to do various GIS/sampling tasks for a week. the road is several hundred miles long, largely dirt. not being authorized i couldn't help on the driving. honestly that was really quite nice- jason and andrew were fabulous in getting us up and back safely, and i was happy to not have to dodge huge trucks barreling down in the other direction.

andrew acted as a great tour guide up and back, having himself done the trip approximately a billion times. not only has he driven back and forth, but has spent a great deal of time off exploring and was a wealth of knowledge.

alright- this is a terrible picture of toolik. but really it is a bunch of outbuildings in a compound up just north of the brooks range. it was one of the coolest science facilities that i have spent time at. the staff was great, the food was *incredible*, and all in all i was disappointed to not have more work to do up there. one week was fabulous, but it would be well worth more time.

science certainly was done while i was there, but additionally ken and i got out to have some fun.
we took a half day and got a ride to adigun gorge where we hiked in to a really great waterfall. indeed, this was hiking within the arctic national wildlife refuge. i can now say, i've been to anwr, but this can't even begin to scratch the surface. it was incredible, and well deserving of a great deal of time....i'll definitely be back.

it had snowed the day before, and the sheep trails were super highlighted along the sides of the mountains

this giant frozen waterfall came out of a hole! there's no scale here, but it was at least 40 ft high (i'm terrible at this kind of estimating...i could be way off, but it was big. really really big)

ken scrambled up to try to capture the sheep trails. and i captured him trying to do this. note the rubber boots...maybe this is common up north, but it's the first time i've spent so much time in rain boots without any rain.

a view from our lunch spot.

the necessary self-portrait.

another day we skiied out to check out some overflow. caribou = everywhere

please note that camping opportunities abound.

willows trapped in the overflow.

many many thanks to ken for such a great week!!!
music was played. buds were counted, buds were lost, science happened.
i greatly appreciated the ideas and thoughts throughout the week that went back and forth
please stay tuned for a ground-breaking paper on ptarmigan and much counting must count for something.