We awoke yesterday morning, packed the final three sleds, cleaned up Ben Jones Camp, and hit the snow road by 10:30.
The path to Barrow wasn't entirely certain because we knew folks were traveling some snow / ice roads between there and our cabin, but wasn't clear where they went exactly. Standard tundra travel was becoming much less solid with melting snowpack and multiple river / delta crossings. We kind of thought we'd go the sea ice route, but in the end the snow road by our cabin took us all the way to Barrow south of Dease Inlet. Averaging 20-30 mph got use close to Barrow by 4pm and we stopped at three lakes to do final ice thickness and TEM measurements before calling it a wrap on field work.
We had dreams of going out for dinner at some fancy Barrow restaurant with a menu and soft drinks, but we all kind of melted once we pulled into NARL (Naval Arctic Research Lab) hut. Sam & Lee's made deliveries and good Chinese food was enjoyed by the Furious Four. Then I went to bed after my first shower in 3 weeks and think other fellows did too as I didn't here much afterwards.
Its nice to make it to the Top of the World on the frozen Arctic Ocean after completing a very successful journey.
We'll be back in November (at least Ben and I) and then the ALISS team will do the same spring trip in reverse next year starting in Barrow and ending in Toolik. We'll need to start earlier for sure, particularly if next winter is anything like this one.