ANWR Coastal Plain (24 July 07 17:23)
The coastal plain is flat, really flat. Here we enjoy a scrumptious dinner of hot dogs and mosquitos.
This panorama was taken during a trip to collect GPS ground control points for a new topographic map ...
This panorama was taken on the Bitty airstrip near the Jago River. Here we collected GPS ground...
We stopped at the Bitty airstrip to rearrange the cargo in the plane after our air drops. This ...
This panorama was taken at the Bitty airstrip near the Jago River. We measured GPS ground contr...
About an hour earlier, about a hundred caribou ran past this spot.
We enjoyed a nice dinner in our tent at Fish Hole 1 along the Hulahula River. This Kifaru teepee ten...
Our float trip ended at this sonar fish counting site run by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Nearly...
On our trip from the mountains to coast, we took a break here for lunch and science.
These low hills were formed by glaciers, over 10,000 years ago.
The biggest city in Alaska is Anchorage, sitting in Cook Inlet on the coast of the north pacific. Suburban expansion in Anchorage means houses are being built up into the mountains behind the city.
People in these new developments complain about "the wildlife" sometimes but you know what? You're gonna get moose in your yard when you build houses on their terrain. They will eat your flowers and sleep in your driveway, and stare at you over the top of a parked full-size pickup truck. They're like cows on stilts. I'm just trying to give you an idea of the scale of things up in Alaska, where there are more small planes per capita than anywhere else in the US. Many small villages get their fuel supply flown in by large aircraft, and that's it for the year.
North of Anchorage there are six hundred miles of mountains with very few roads or people, and then up at the top of that expanse is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It's about nineteen million acres of space, or seventy-seven thousand square kilometers.
If you put a map of the state of Alaska on top of a map of the United States, Alaska would cover half of the country. Alaska by itself is the size of half of the United States. That's an easy idea to miss because most maps shrink Alaska when they show it next to the continental U.S.
Back to the pictures: locals in Kavtovik make use of the natural environment. Whale bones on the beach are an example of the subsistence lifestyle which has been going on here for long before airplanes and panoramic pictures.
This is a really interesting set of pictures. Scientists get the award for "most thorough documentation" of a spot.
Okay, I haven't personally been up as far as AWNR, but I can tell you just from hiking Girdwood that it's a very very amazing feeling to walk for a while, turn around, and see absolutely nothing man-made anywhere in your field of vision, except your boots.
Text by Steve Smith.