We cross the Arctic Circle
Jul 7, 2007
Today's pictures are courtesy of Trent Beagan! Thanks Trent for some awesome shots!
We woke today to a 4 AM alarm AND a whopping thunderstorm....those of you who know John and I know that #1 we don't like to fly....#2 I don't like to fly EVER and #3 John really doesn't like to fly in bad weather! I think, no, I know that neither one of us wanted to get on that plane today but we knew that we would regret it if we didn't and neither one of us wanted to disappoint the other by saying we didn't want to go. Trent was fine about not going, he thought maybe we could go back to the gold mine instead~
We went....The initial part of the flight was dark and bumpy but after our first stop in Deadhorse (I don't even want to consider how that town was named) the weather began to clear and by the time we were 30 minutes or so out of Barrow the sun was shining and we got our first view of the pack ice. Even I looked out the window! Trent got his new camera warmed up and took some amazing shots. We landed in Barrow to temperatures in the 70's with a nice breeze.
Barrow is a hard knock kind of town,...very grey and battered. There is no vegetation.to speak of except for some reindeer moss. The permafrost doesn't allow for any kind of planting and no one seems at all interested in sprucing up the town. There are junk piles and old boats and broken down snow mobiles everywhere. The main form of transportation areATVs and taxi's (a taxi ride anywhere is $6.00). The beaches are crushed stone and the water although very clear looks almost black. You can pretty much see the whole town in about an hour.
Our primary goal and all Trent could think about was putting our feet in the Arctic Ocean. We did! It was the coldest water I have ever felt. It actually hurt to stand in the water! And of course Trent and I didn't just stand in the water...we rolled our pant legs up and ran into as far as we could! ......Now here is the sad thing....You have to just take our word for it and form a mental picture because when I down loaded my pictures ,all 98 of them,y computer compromised my chip and erased all my pictures! It is now 3 in the morning and I have cried until I am half sick but at least we have pictures from Trent's camera and some great memories.
Now back to the day....we met a very nice Inuit man and his family who were down to the beach for a swim. Both children had on their bathing suits and were in the water...I couldn't believe it. The little girl was about Trent's age and when I asked here how in the world she could get in that water she just smiled and told me she was used to it! Unreal! She and her little brother were not the only ones in the water....we saw the most amazing orange striped jelly fish....huge, about the size of a dinner plate and also little bell shaped purple ones. We didn't touch them but we got as close as we could get.
We attended a show at the Heritage Center put on by some of the local children and their grandparents. They played Inuit drums and took turns dancing their traditional dances. All the dances told a story and they seemed to be gender specific. While all the dancers were good the young boys were outstanding. You didn't need to know the language to understand the story they were telling you. After the dance and a walk through the museum we stopped by the native vendors and artisans booths, all three of them! We got Trent an Eskimo yo-yo and with a little instruction from one of the local children he soon had it mastered, well almost...And I am sure he would have if Aunt Jacqi hadn't made him PUT IT AWAY!
Our day on Barrow ended with a ride down the End of the Road Highway. You drive until you can't go any further and you stop and turn around! We stopped and stayed for our allotted 7 minutes and Trent got to get his picture standing on a piece of the summer ice. Well we all did and the pictures were great ....honest!
Despite the terrible tour and the worst tour guide ever licensed and losing all my pictures it was a memorable day and I am so very glad that we braved the elements and flew to Barrow and let us not forget CROSSED THE ARCTIC CIRCLE...and we have the certificates to prove it!