Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Arctic Circle

How could we be so close to the arctic circle and not go (it’s about 200 miles from Fairbanks)? This morning Ed, Zaph and I got up early and headed north. Unfortunately it started raining shortly after we left and the mountains were foggy in spots. We thought about turning around but we decided to persevered. And a good thing we did as the weather cleared and we had a lovely day. The first 80 miles of the trip were on paved highway but the next part was gravel. Ed was in his glory — a 4 wheel drive vehicle without a trailer attached and rally roads. I just held on tight. We made it to the arctic circle in 4 hours (only 1 stop on the way up). The arctic circle itself isn’t too exciting — no flashing dotted line just a sign. The trip back was a slower (5 ½ hours) as we stopped to enjoy the scenery. At the arctic circle there were more trees than I had expected, just south was more tundra like conditions (this was what I had expected), some areas had fairly short trees (that means there is perma frost in the ground) and others had taller trees (less or no perma frost in the ground), another area was full of tors (rocks strewn out of the ground by mother nature) and as we got closer to Fairbanks large round hills covered in evergreens. The road we drove was built when they built the Alaska Pipeline, so we also saw a lot of the pipeline. The pipeline is above ground a lot of the time but is underground in some places.

The drive up the Elliot Highway.

The Dalton highway. That's dust behind the truck not water.

We made it to the Artic Circle.

The truck got dirty! It was much worse by time we got back to Fairbanks.

A Tor --- an outcropping of rock.

Another view of a Tor.

Zaph enjoying the view.

Ed really like the Tor's -- an art shot.

Frances in the rocks.

The Dalton Highway with the Alaska Pipeline beside it.

A close up view of the pipeline.

Me and Zaph looking at the river.

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