After a hectic month of wrapping up office projects as well as planning, shopping, organizing, and coordinating for the CALON April 2014 Expedition…tomorrow marks the first leg of the journey...at least for the sole member of the project based in Anchorage. Jones (Alaska Science Center - U.S. Geological Survey) will be driving his fully loaded field rig and towing his snow machine trailer from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The 355 mile drive starts by winding its way around Knik Arm, on through Wasilla (where Sarah Palin hails from), and then north along the Parks Highway, passing by Denali, the tallest peak in North America. On a good day this drive takes about 7 hrs and judging by the Alaska Department of Transportation road conditions website it looks like tomorrow should be one of those good days.
While Jones finished organizing his gear in Anchorage - Arp (UAF-WERC), Rozell (UAF-GI), and Grosse (AWI-Potsdam - who's journey from Germany to Fairbanks began 3 days ago) braved the aisles of the Fairbanks Fred Meyer pushing two shopping carts each. All said and done they purchased enough food for four people for three weeks. The food will be repackaged in totes and loaded in sleds and go along for the bumpy, long, and cold traverse. Based on past expeditions where we have witnessed utter destruction of science equipment and field gear...bumps and bruises to our bodies…mental exhaustion…frostnip and minor cases of snow blindness...toasted whole grain original Wheat Thins somehow maintain their perfect little square shape. While we would love to get to bottom of this mystery, our focus will be on lakes, and we will rely on these bite sized wonders paired with white sharp cheddar cheese as we snack and prepare our dinner meals after a long hard day in The Great White Yonder.
Stay tuned for more photos and updates. The A Team continues northward on Sunday as they drive the 360 miles from Fairbanks to Toolik Field Station (200 miles north of the Arctic Circle). The drive will pass through the worlds highest Arctic mountain range, The Brooks Range. Springtime in Alaska!