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Bouncing Back in Whiteness

1/28/2018

Awaking in the dark as usual, it took us several hours to recognize that conditions were not ideal for making the 85 mile trek back to Barrow. Our cabin was surrounded by a pure world of white with no separation between snow-covered land and sky. Thus we took our time packing and closing down the cabin. At noon we departed from the north shore of Teshekpuk Lake.

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Ben was leading us east and then northeast through relative obscurity. Even following I often had a hard time seeing him 50 m ahead or his snowmachine track just laid. A nearly solid white view was only diffusely cut by occasional blues and greys. Rather constant bounces from hard drifts were the only reminder that we were in touch with the snowy land. Still we made very good progress and with two short stops we were coming to the lights of Barrow as darkness encroached. The first recognizable building we saw was actually the BARC (Barrow Arctic Research Center) building.

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It was definitely a good trip! We made all our key measurements, experienced this landscape during a new season, and almost everything went according to plan (which is not typically the case). Only bummer was that Sam n’ Lee’s Restaurant was closed upon our return, although Osaka’s hit the spot. I’ll probably dream tonight of squinting through frosted eyelashes to see the next jarring bump or that hidden caribou that left fresh diggings we travel over in this whiteness of the Arctic tundra.