Monday, May 13, 2013

More Snapshots of Barrow

Just a few more pictures from Barrow. As I may have mentioned before, fuel is delivered by barge in the Fall and that sets the price for the year. It has slowly been creeping up over the years but honestly, for where it is, this price isn't that bad. I've paid as much in Canada on the road system.

This is the main, modern grocery store AC Company (originally Alaska Commercial). Once inside you'd feel right at home though they do sell televisions, clothes and four wheelers mixed in with the groceries. Prices are are on the high side as everything is flown in so heavy stuff that can't freeze like milk or canned goods are the most expensive. In the entryway, there are usually a number of individuals selling local artwork and I'm always tempted to pick some up. Pretty expensive but beautiful.

Right across the street is the Heritage Center which is the museum as well as the consortium library. A pretty nice facility with the focus on native arts and whaling artifacts.

This lake is the freshwater lake where the drinking water is sourced from. I'm sure there is a treatment facility but this is one of the sources. The road is closed since it has turned to mud even more than other roads in town. Of course, this has re-routed traffic to make the other roads a real mess.

One of several playground set up around town. I actually see this one used not only in the summer but it isn't unusual to see activity in the winter as well.

The only gas station as far as I know. All of the gas is in above ground tanks to the right and one of several auto part stores (Napa) is behind on the right. To get gas, we use these weird "chip keys" since it is generally unstaffed.

Another distance shot of local housing. I didn't feel comfortable taking closer shot of individual homes. But hopefully this will give you an idea of what things are like up north.

One last shot of students out on the ice. They are here as part of a sea ice course being taught out of UAF where they learn some of the techniques needed to perform their research such as getting core samples and how to handle and process them. This is only part of the group out on the ice right now. Normally, when groups are collecting samples, they are much further out on the ice.

12 comments:

Martha said...

I appreciate why residents paint their houses in bright color. Bleakness is bleak. Mental toughness would seem to be required of most who live here.

Unknown said...

Richard:

those houses look like prefab, double wides and on stilts I guess because the ground is too hard. Also would the pipes freeze as you can't put them underground, that means also that you have holding tanks for sewer ? so heat would be from propane or oil ?

I'm not sure I could survive up there. All I can think of is there is no grass to cut

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Trobairitz said...

Thank you for taking more pictures Richard.

The price of gas up there doesn't seem so bad when you consider it arrives by barge. Our regular unleaded is about $3.90 a gallon right now. Still cheaper than BC.

And Bob - I don't think you could go barefoot in Barrow for very long.

RichardM said...

The north side of many houses have the paint blasted off by snow being driven by wind. Houses require a lot of maintenance and there is only a short window to do it in.

RichardM said...

Some buildings like the hotel I'm in are prefab and many were salvaged from construction camps from oil and gas operations. Many of the houses are brought in as "kit" houses. All of the material for the shell including floors, roofing and interior wall finishes shipped up in a container. You get to assemble it when it arrives.

I knew an english prof. at the Nome campus who insisted on planting a lawn in front of his cabin and shipped in the only lawn mower in Nome to cut it. I haven't talked to him in a number of years to see if it's still growing.

RichardM said...

Last summer I paid over $6/gallon on the Cassiar Hwy. Over $30 to fill up the bike...

I'm wondering what the next bump in price is going to be and when folks around here are going to start doing natural gas conversions.

RichardM said...

Most heat is natural gas and much of the water and sewer infrastructure is buried but that makes them impossible to get to if there is a problem in the winter. Plus, if the moisture content of the ground is high, the ground will freeze deeper. Here at the NARL campus, water and sewer is done using tanks at each house and a service delivers water and empties the sewage tank regularly.

SonjaM said...

And 2$ on top will also get you a gallon of gas in Germany ;-)

Thanks for posting pictures of this remote place. I wonder how the housings can withstand the weather conditions up there.

RichardM said...

Folks in the U.S. don't realize how low the gas prices are compared to other parts of the world. Last year in Ethiopia, it was about 1 1/2 days wage per gallon as opposed to about 1 hour's pay (for a entry level position).

The houses seem to last well but a lot of place look like they could use a little more attention...

Martha said...

I never imagined that about being snow-blasted. Having been snow-blasted in my face more than a few times, I can understand how that would damage paint!

Bluekat said...

Yeah, we have it pretty good with regards to gas prices I think. Agree with others, the price doesn't seem that high, all things considered.

Nice pics of the area. Gives a nice feel for how the area looks. Kind of bleak, but a little bit of cheery color here and there.

RichardM said...

I agree that it looks a little bleak but that's in town. With the snow melting, everything tends to look muddy and the stuff accumulating in yards tend to stand out. With the high cost of shipping things up here, it's hard to throw things out unless you are positive that there is no more value left.