This is what it looks like when caribou cross your path on the Dalton Highway (click on the first one and scroll to the right to see them full size):
And here are three moose next to the Welcome to Fairbanks sign on the Parks Highway, taken the day after the caribou but there was no snow in Fairbanks at that time (10 days ago). Jack says this is a bull and his harem. You can barely see the one on the other side of the bushes but Jack says he’s a young bull trying to build a harem. The moose on the right looks to me like a young moose, possibly a calf of the cow. All-about-moose.com says about this topic: “The taiga moose calf will stay within visible proximity whereas with tundra moose calves they will generally avoid the harems the bulls collect. Bulls will tolerate yearlings but for the most part calves avoid the harem group.” We didn’t even know there was a difference between taiga and tundra moose.
For some reason, years ago, Jack documented this heavy haul load quite thoroughly so why not share it with you guys. This is a 2006 heavy haul load with 2 push trucks going up Atigun Pass on the Dalton Highway, and coming down the other side. The load might be some kind of heater, maybe to heat the oil going down the pipeline, but Jack’s not totally sure. It’s an outside unit so didn’t need to be covered. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
Jack was able to meet Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski this past week! There was a get-together to discuss the condition of the Dalton Highway, and to try to raise money to improve the notoriously pock-marked and wash-boarded road. Also attending were the head of the US Dept of Transportation, Elaine Chao, and several other Carlile drivers and employees. Click on the first one to enlarge, and scroll to the right.
Tom Hendricks, Jack Jessee, Elaine Chao, Lisa Murkowski, John Slater and Phil Kromm
The conference room in Prudhoe Bay where they met…
and the drivers with blue booties on.
The Carlile guys.
Lisa Murkowskit being given a pipeline memento by Alyeska Pipeline president, Thomas Barrett.
Secretary of Transportation, Elain Chao; Jack; and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski
A scruffy Carlile driver with our highly esteemed Senator.
Happy Fourth of July! Here are some photos from Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. Cliff dwellings are always fun to see and this is one of the best places to experience them. There’s more info on the captions and in order to see them and the photos at original size, click on the first photo and scroll to the right. Be careful with those fireworks!
Looking down into the canyon where the Native American cliff dwellings are.
Diorama of some of the dwellings that were not attached to the cliff.
“Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years. Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities.” (nps.gov)
This diorama shows how the dwellings were attached to the cliff and connected to the alcoves.
“The Ancestral Pueblo people lived here from approximately 1150 CE to 1550 CE. They built homes carved from the volcanic tuff and planted crops in mesatop fields.” (nps.gov)
The actual cliff wall.
If you look closely there appears to be some holes in the cliff wall.
The first ruins you come to, a circular building that was a religious gathering place.
The circular diorama in the visitor center was of these ruins which were made up of many individular dwellings, some of which were at least 2 stories high.
The holes next to the square entrances were for posts that supported man-built dwellings that stuck out from the side of the cliff.
Jack, showing the size of the entrance.
Inside the alcove.
Looking back toward the visitor center.
“By 1550, the Ancestral Pueblo people had moved from this area to pueblos along the Rio Grande. After over 400 years the land here could no longer support the people and a severe drought added to what were already becoming difficult times.” (nps.gov)
Judy, climbing a ladder to check out an alcove.
These steps were put in by the park service, as were the ladders.
Looking down on the circular ruins, some of which were at least 2 stories high.
Inside an alcove where the soot built up from years of fires.
Imagine dwellings made of rock standing high enough to cover those cave entrances.
“Corn, beans, and squash were central to their diet, supplemented by native plants and meat from deer, rabbit, and squirrel. Domesticated turkeys were used for both their feathers and meat while dogs assisted in hunting and provided companionship. ” (nps.gov)
Post holes for supporting the rock buildings that leaned against the cliff wall. (The engraving may be vandalism.)
The artwork to the right has been covered with plexiglass for safe-keeping.
What a great day.
Leaving the visitor center and other buildings of Bandelier National Monument. Thanks for looking!
Jack bought a new pick up truck! We picked it up in Amarillo, Texas and drove through Palo Duro Canyon State Park before heading on to New Mexico. Click on the first one and scroll to the right if you are interested!
Jack and his new truck!
Look at those huge ears on that jackrabbit!
An adorable prairie dog family (and could that be a burrowing owl in the background?).
Very different soils from what we are used to in Alaska.
Windmills and jack pumps everywhere!
Amazing dips and depressions in these brick roads, not all that different from what we deal with!
On The High Road to Taos (highway 518 in New Mexico) Jack and I ran into a pretty powerful hail storm. Even Jack felt the need to pull over at this point. At the very beginning of the below video you can see a little bit of lightning and later the road was totally white, it looked like snow. There are photos below it.
Hail on Jack’s truck after the storm mostly passed.
It looks like snow!
But it is clearly small balls of ice.
Deciding to head out.
Not sure if it melted right away seeing as it was pretty cool up in the mountains.
It was still on the truck when we stopped at a gas station about an hour later!
The day before we were enjoying the beautiful (but cool) weather of Taos.
At some point every year white out conditions occur on the Dalton where you can see barely 20 feet in front of you. Here are some photos from last year. Someone went off the road and laid their truck over on its side. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
Two truckers were caught in an avalanche Monday night on the Dalton. Jack was not involved and neither of the drivers were seriously hurt. The road is now closed and the State is working on trying to trigger avalanches before they reopen. We’ve had tons of snow, seems like a record breaking year for snow actually, but for some reason no one made the decision to deal with this before it got to this point.
Photo credit: Jonothan James Kasak via the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website
“One of the trucks that was stuck was a tanker carrying methanol; the other one carried glycol. When the highway reopens, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will evaluate whether there were any spills. The other two trucks were able to proceed with minimal assistance from a Department of Transportation crew, Bailey said.
Atigun Pass is one of a handful of mountain passes where work crews frequently fire Howitzer artillery at snowcovered slopes to trigger avalanches in order to prevent unplanned slides. Avalanche gates were installed on the south side of the pass three years ago to stop vehicles headed into avalanche danger. This was the first time the gate has been used.”
Well at least the top corner of it did on January 7th. It appears that snow fell on a majority of states in the continental US in January. These images are from the NASA Earth Observatory website – the one of the southwest was taken quite recently, January 28th.