Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quick Trip to Toolik Lake

This morning, I was on my north again to Toolik Field Station located about 40 miles north of the Brooks Range along the Dalton Highway. We left about 9:15 am and arrived around 4:30 pm with only a short stop in Coldfoot to pick up some fuel (last stop for ultra-low sulpher diesel) and some lunch to-go. This is a mountain south of Atigun Pass and it looks like solid rock. If you look closely you can see some frozen waterfalls which was the point of the photo. The other person in the truck had a friend that wanted to do some ice climbing in the area and was just wondering what conditions were like.

This is the view to the south as we were climbing Atigun Pass and as you can see, the weather wasn't too good. Lots of low clouds, snow and some fog. It looks colder than it actually was. I think the scenery is really stunning.

However, north of the Brooks Range, the weather was absolutely beautiful. Temperatures are in the mid-20s and there was a slight breeze. The distance between these two pictures was about ten miles.

I had forgotten one piece of equipment in my office the last time up here. A polarization mode dispersion analyzer to characterize the fiber optic cable we installed the last time I was up here. I figure it would take me about four hours to run the tests as well as collect the data on the tests I had run remotely. I still don't know how to transfer the data back to Fairbanks so I may just have to come up periodically to pull the data. Oh darn...


  1. So much beauty in the ice. I am impressed. I wouldn't want to get lost in the second picture though. The last one is such a clear crisp capture. Simply stunning!
    I wonder are you driving well prepared just in case...?

  2. Richard,

    It's quite stark and beautiful there. Alaska remains one of the last places to visit, the North Pole does fall after, however. (I grew up in Minnesota, Frozen four months of the year. I want to check out Equator)

    There is a beauty there though, that seems like no other. Thanks for sharing it, as I don't know that I'll see it any time soon. I'm quite happy here in warmth and civilization (read: quite a wiener)

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  3. SonjaM:
    I was amazed at the difference from going over the pass. Miserable weather on one side and wonderful on the other.

    The university provides well equipped vehicles including CB, sat phone, multiple spare tires, multiple jacks, tow ropes and a large crate of emergency gear. (I haven't looked into the crate).

    Since I've never been to Europe, I would be wandering all over the place checking things out. I've been in Alaska for almost 30 years and I still enjoy wandering around though less so in the winter.

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Richard - Maybe you should peek into the box - lol. You might want to throw a few your own things in the truck. I can honestly say I don't know if I could live where you are, I lived in Northern BC for 17 years and we used to get miserable winters. Alaska sure is beautiful. Stunning pictures as always.

  5. I'm not sure I'm ready for snow, but the photos are beautiful!

  6. Dar:
    Maybe one of these days I'll take a look at what's in the box. This vehicle makes the trip twice per week year around so it is kept in pretty good shape. You are required to call in periodically so they can keep track of your progress and get the latest updates on the pass.

    The snow is gradually working it's way south. We were driving through snow for most of the trip yesterday but here in Fairbanks, the roads are still dry so I rode in again this morning, Hopefully they'l be good this evening for my trip home :-)

  7. What a difference ten miles makes. Foggy and cold then brilliant sunshine. I love seeing pictures of real mountains. After growing up near the Rockies the ones around here seem like hills.

  8. OK then, adding these locations to the future rides list!

    Thanks for the pictures.


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  9. I've seen and read about ice climbing. Tough, and cold, hobby!

    The inclement weather backed directly by deep blue skies and stark white peaks with wisps of clouds. That's was keeps you there and always looking. Such beauty.

    Thanks for sharing when all I get here is muddy snow. :)