Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Up North Again

One guess where I am today. If you guessed Barrow you'd be correct. This is an image from the sea ice web cam on top of the Wells Fargo bank building in downtown Barrow. As you can see, the ocean is still frozen, there is still snow, and the sun is still fairly high in the sky even though it is now after 10:00pm. I'm up here through the weekend and hope to install some additional network equipment, turn on network registration on a couple more subnets, install another router for a "guest" network, add some AirPlay capability in the conference room and debug some VoIP problems. Plus a few more tasks that I don't remember at the moment or don't want to think about. There are so many researchers up here right now that I'm not in a hut but at the Ukpik Nest (really modular housing made into a hotel). No kitchen so no cooking.

This is the sea ice on the western side of town just off the end of the runway. There is a long stretch of open water and this is causing problems as it's difficult to get to the sea ice edge without crossing them. Pretty dangerous. The light is very flat and there isn't a lot of contrast. And the sky and snow seem bright or at least bright enough to make my eyes ache after being outside for a few hours. It's snowing very lightly but all of the roads are getting to be giant mud puddles with a few roads in town closed until they can dry up a bit.

15 comments:

  1. You make it sound so alluring. The picture makes it look like people live in woodsheds. That can't be right in those temperatures can it?

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    1. That picture is taken from a webcam on top of the bank building and that is what most of the houses look like. Pretty weather beaten due to the climate but no wood sheds around here as there are no trees. All heat is from natural gas.

      From the number of tourists visiting Barrow, there must be some draw. After all, with global warming, this may be the next Key West...

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    2. I just looked at he webcam photo and it is about a week old but the houses haven't changed much. Welcome to "other" Alaska. This is in contrast to the pictures that Charlie6 is posting from the "Big City" area of the state.

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  2. Alaskans are tough. I'd demand a heated garage and an indoor jacuzzi to survive up there. Outdoor parking and snowdrifts backed up to the house? Brrr. I don't think I would do well there.

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    1. Very few people have garages due to the cost of shipping up building materials and there are quite a few that have indoor jacuzzi's (so I'm told). Outdoor parking is the rule but only if you can afford the gas. Cabs and busses are a popular transportation option.

      There are usually quite a few people walking around but not too many dogs. A few dog teams but it costs a lot to feed them.

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  3. I like the way the sun is glowing off the building in that first photo. You say it is downtown Barrow - how big exactly is Barrow?

    And Conch - I don't think you could survive without being able to wear your Crocs all year round. Do they make pink snow boots?

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    1. Trobairitz:

      I think I could wear my Crocs© but I would keep socks handy, just in case.

      bob
      Riding the Wet Coast

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    2. The population Barrow is ~4200 people and it really is nice on a sunny day. Crocs aren't uncommon especially since you can get winter versions (insulated). When I was in Toolik Lake Field Station, just abou the entire staff had winter Crocs.

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  4. Richard:

    I keep looking for the grass. where do people keep their lawnmowers ?

    are there many stores ? I guess everyone knows everyone. I lived in a small community on Vancouver Island working a summer job in Mesachie Lake, which is just a bit east of Duncan, BC and when a strange car rolled into town, everyone knew about it. It made news in the local Cowichan Lake newspaper

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

    bob
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. No lawns so no lawn mowers.

      There are several grocery stores but only one large one that carries a lot of groceries. Quite a few small stores with videos, souvenirs, auto parts, gas, copiers, etc. You name it and it might be available for the right price.

      Since you can't drive here (most of the time) the only way to bring in a new car is on the barge. So lots of small SUVs and trucks. Almost no cars.

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  5. No trees, no green, no scenery, and it's cold... What do people do up there to enjoy themselves?

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    1. Lots of ATVs and snow machines, some folks are trying to raise chickens, hunting, some fishing, eskimo dancing, carving. Lots of activities going on year around. And "cold" is a relative term. Most don't consider it "cold" right now even though there's still snow on the ground. The area just past the buildings in the first photo is a children's playground.

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  6. RichardM, are the locals still talking about the R1 rider that came through recently?

    dom

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