Thursday, August 9, 2012

Arrived safely in Anchorage, NGEE Arctic team prepares for Nome

Yesterday, groups of 2-4 people from around the country left their home institutions bound for Alaska. By late last night, our team was complete and everyone had arrived safely in Anchorage. In addition to Martin, Peter, Jitendra (or Jitu) and me; our foursome was joined by Charlie Koven and Haruko Wainwright from LBNL, Scott Painter and Chonggang Xu from LANL, and Mike Kuperberg, Gary Geernaert, and Sharlene Weatherwax from BER.

Although I have now made the trip to Alaska a dozen times in the last 18 months, the six hour flight from Chicago yesterday was long.  I was, however, able to double-check my notes to make sure that everything was in place for a good trip. Larry and I exchanged a few emails just as a precaution and to make sure our schedules were coordinated. Larry is in Nome now conducting research with a couple of his UAF colleagues, but has also been keeping a close eye on the weather, road conditions, and the size and number of mosquitoes. So far, so good, but Larry reminded me that Nome was a coastal village on the Horton Sound and Bering Sea and that everything could change in a minute. We reviewed Plan A and then made a few quick notes under the heading of Plan B. It is good to have Larry as a member of our team!

My travels to Alaska have taught me a valuable lesson.  Once you leave Anchorage and head north, your ability to purchase materials and supplies becomes increasingly limited. The exception to this is Fairbanks, but that would not be one of our destinations. So we took time to pick up a few last minute items...bought "Muck" boots for our treks across the tundra, tucked a few postcards into the backpack, and enjoyed the evening before heading out towards Nome and the Seward Peninsula Thursday morning.