Saturday, May 11, 2013

Snapshots of Barrow

I usually have the camera facing the ocean as the town seems pretty muddy or covered in snow. But since there were some comments on previous post wondering what the town looked like, I went ahead and wandered around a bit. This is the road you could see from the webcam on top of the bank. The playground is behind me and the ocean is on the right beyond the pile of dirt and snow. Pretty muddy today.

Above is the Top of the World hotel and Pepe's Mexican restaurant where most tourists end up staying. Not very fancy but then again, I never stayed there. It is built on pilings driven into the ground as are most stable buildings around here. A little further down the coast road and you can see that much of the shore is being washed away as the storm surges are getting higher every year.

Above is looking back towards town at the end of the runway. I just missed the Alaska Airlines jet flying overhead by a few minutes. On Wednesday, I took a picture of a lead opening up and that is behind me. Next is looking across Salt Water Lake towards the downtown area. From left to right, the old hospital, the Presbyterian church, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and the Wells Fargo Bank building with the web cam and sea ice radar on it's roof.

I have taken photos of the whale bone arch numerous times but it is looking pretty sad at the moment. Breakup is a really messy time of year. To the right is the coast road heading northeast towards the NARL campus. It runs along the ocean which would be on the other side of the pile of ice rocks and snow. At least it is in pretty good shape today. Just ahead is the incinerator building which is supposed to be used for burning trash though I rarely see any smoke coming out of the smoke stack.

Above is the residential portion of the NARL campus. These are all 1940 vintage quonset huts made of corrugated metal. The large field in the foreground was once used as the high school football field for the farthest north game (covered by ESPN no less!). Last is a shot of the Ukpik Nest, the hotel I'm staying in right now. Basically a bunch of modular housing units put together. Individual rooms with the bathrooms and showers down the hall. Inside, it's clean and warm so no complaints from me.

I'll finish off this little tour with a food photo. After Martha mentioned udon, I made want some. Here is some tempura, udon, and a couple pieces of sushi (tobiko and smoked salmon). A wonderful, tasty dinner.

Wow, two posts in one day.


SonjaM said...

There is beauty in everything like the bone arch. It is just hard to find it during the breakup of the ice when all gets melty and muddy I assume. I admire people who can permanently live there, I couldn't do it, not even for top dollars.

Conchscooter said...

I have heard that bunny boots are good to minus 60. I wonder who walks around in minus 60? I think working from home would be the way to go. That or killing whales and seals and being really rugged. Like parking your truck in a snowdrift every night instead of in a heated garage. I thought 73 degrees and windy last week was a tad brisk. on the other hand the dividend was $878 this year I believe?

Erik R said...

I notice a lot of low pitched roofs. Does the wind blow the snow off?

Down here, a good roof design is a steep one, with steel roofing panels. The snow builds up a little, then the stuff slides off... almost self clearing.

Martha said...

Ummm. Nice dinner.

The town appears as I thought- utilitarian, rugged, and very important. The "storm surge" photo is especially grim. Looks all the more critical because of the cold, austere landscape.

Trobairitz said...

Thanks Richard for posting the town pics. It is actually a lot larger than I pictured in my mind. For some reason I was picturing one or two building and that was it. I don't know why - maybe because it is so remote.

redlegsrides said...


Thanks for the pics.

You wrote: "took a picture of a lead opening". What is that?

RichardM said...

The only thing that bothers me is the isolation of being off of the road system. I have the same concern about living somewhere like Hawaii. Thing have dried out somewhat as you don't feel like you're just sliding through the mud anymore.

The bone arch is one of the nicest photo ops in Barrow.

RichardM said...

Bunny boots are ideal especially in areas where you may step in water. If it's -60°F, then fur mukluks will keep you warmer. A lot of people walk around at those temperatures and even go camping. At those temperatures it's the wind that'll make you feel the cold.

The dividend is a nice perk but would be insufficient incentive if you didn't care for the location.

RichardM said...

A low pitched roof is cheaper to build as you need less material. And with steel roofing, it'll slide off as long as you have decent insulation.

RichardM said...

It was a very delicious dinner. Though I wouldn't order the smoked salmon again. Too salty.

The recent storm surges have really eaten away at the coast. I think they'll have to start abandoning buildings in the near future especially if there is any significant seal level rise. This far north, there are no real tidal variation and last Fall, they had their first real "tropical storm". Not sure what it would be called up here.

RichardM said...

A few more than two buildings and some of them are pretty large, as in four stories tall. Some of the apartment buildings are three stories tall. I think that may be the limit unless you have an elevator installed.

RichardM said...

A "lead" is open water separating masses of ice. For example if the floating ice breaks away from the land locked ice the intervening open water would be a "lead".