Sunday, June 3, 2012

Midnight Saturday Walk

This evening, I was invited to go for a walk by a group called the 4F's, which stands for Food, Family, Fun, Fitness but no one was quite sure of the order of the words. This was their first Midnight Saturday walk of the season and it started from the Will Rogers - Wiley Post monument in town near the airport. Our small group headed out towards the satellite farm west of the airport. Four others showed up including one passenger in a stroller.

The Will Rogers - Wiley Post monument in town memorializes the 1935 plane crash of these two well known individuals. The actual crash site is about 13 miles west of town and there are two more monuments at the site. This one near the airport is more accessible to tourists.

There is also one of the mileposts that seem to be so popular in Alaska indicating direction and distance to various locations. If you look closely, you can see that even though this is the most northerly point in the U.S., we are still 1,311 miles from the north pole.

By midnight, the fog was rolling in and it was just barely above freezing but once we got going, it didn't feel that cold. We turned around just short of the satellite farm after only 1.6 miles since there was a 15 mph wind, visibility was diminishing, and there was some concern about not being able to see any polar bears with the low visibility.

On the way back into town, someone commented on the stupidity of putting up a barb wire topped chain link fence that just ended next to the road. This high security fence around the airport is supposed to keep people and animals off of the airport runway and ramp but it looks like it's more for show than function. The end of the runway is just on the other side of the pond.

This walk was a nice diversion especially after working for the last 13 days straight. I feel like I've been working non stop and look forward to taking some time off when I get back to town. I did take the SPOT with me to play with the tracking feature again. I had purchased it for trips but it may be just as useful when out walking in remote areas. Thank you 4F's for the invitation.

In case you are looking for adventure and a bit of exercise, they are having their first marathon (as well as a 5K and ½ marathon) up here on July 20, 2012. Check it out at


  1. It would be so odd to me to be out walking that late and have it that light outside. I know you are used to it but to me it would feel odd.

    Sounds like you are still getting some chilly temperatures.

    Glad you are finally getting a day off. 13 in a row is way too many.

    1. After a while, it seems completely normal. It is just as bright at 2 in the morning as it is in 2 in the afternoon. The high temperature up here is all the way up to 34°F with lows below freezing. The snow is slowly melting and there is a couple of feet of open water along some parts of the beach.

      Still another week before any days off though I didn't come in until almost noon today after trying out the "Sunday Brunch" at the Ilisagvik cafeteria. The only thing brunchish was the shrimp linguini and the shrimp were overcooked. Oh well, the salad bar was well stocked...

  2. I like the combination of fitness and food, less remorse ;-)

    Back in 2004 when we visited Yukon and Alaska our sleeping schedule was completely screwed up because of the long days, I never knew what time it was... so walking in the middle of the night seems almost natural...

    1. I think that is what some of them thought and I believe that they are working on ways to get healthier food options locally available without breaking the bank.

      I believe that the group plans on having the Midnight Saturday walks throughout the summer. And even last night well after midnight, there was a lot of activity.

  3. Richard,

    I'm in utter admiration of your spirit.... cold temperatures AND concern about polar bears. Makes the worry of neighbourhood dogs on the loose seem pretty trivial!

    Loved the signpost - guess NZ is a bridge too far to get on it :-)

    1. I'm told that polar bears are more of a problem once the ice goes out later on in the summer but the poor visibility made it difficult to see one if it were around. The organizers originally were planning to walk out to Clearwater Lake which I had never been to in the summer. In the winter, we weren't quite sure where the lake shore was.

      Or more likely, since the signpost was square, they were looking for locations that matched the sides of the post.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  4. Richard:

    I'm not sure I could keep my eyes open that late, light or no light but I won't know until I get up there, one day . . .

    but forget walking, I'll go for the bicycle option

    Riding the Wet Coast
    My Flickr // My YouTube

    1. I thought seriously about shipping up my bicycle on this trip since I am up here for a couple of weeks.

      Last night, it wasn't overcast or foggy and the sunlight was streaming in the windows and you could hear kids playing on the trampoline one building over. In the summer, many people seem to ignore the clock...

  5. That does sound Iike fun, a nice midnight walk. I could forgo the polar bears though. :)

    The monument sounds interesting, I didn't know that Will Rogers had been in a plane crash there.

    1. In August, 1935, Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed when the engine died in their plane soon after takeoff from a small village west of Barrow. They were forced to land earlier due to engine trouble, they thought that they had repaired the engine and took off again. They crashed from an altitude of 50'. There are two memorials at the actual crash site but I have never made it out there. I tried a couple of years ago but it was too early in the summer as the stream crossings got deeper and deeper. i.e. over the headlights of the Honda four wheeler.