Friday, March 10, 2017

Call it Barrow, Utqiagvik or Ukpeaġvik

I had the pleasure of going to what was call Barrow, Alaska for decades but has recently been changed to Utqiagvik. A totally different life than what I am use to but all the most interesting. The arctic life is harsh, but the local people make it look easy. It's the largest city in the North Slope Borough  with a population of less than 5,000. It's also the oldest permanent settlement in the U.S.
Arriving on an Alaska Airlines plane with an older color scheme. Ironically, I flew on an aircraft with the red leis on the tail for the Hawaii bound flights. No, were didn't go to Hawaii.
Whaling is a huge part of the Alaskan Native life in Utqiagvik. The whole community participates and also receives the meat from the catch.
 I came during the off season, so many places weren't open.
 I had a rental car, so getting around was easy and had a place to stay warm. The old village of Nuvuk is no longer inhabited, but was a joy to photograph.
 Arctic palm trees?
 The roads are well maintained, better than in larger cities like Anchorage or Wasilla. The roads aren't paved though because the permafrost would tear them up every spring and summer. The orange post mark the edges of the road. No roads connect to the rest of the state.
 Some of the older whaling boats are laying around town and this one I just had to keep coming back to until I got the shot I wanted.
 This is called the antenna field. There's probably twice as many then what you see here. Keeps them in touch with the rest of the world.
 Obviously, this gentleman was a Steelers fan.
 In 1935, the famous humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post made an unplanned stop at Walakpa Bay 15 mi south of Barrow while en route to the city. As they took off again, their plane stalled and plunged into a river, killing them both. The airport was renamed as the Wiley Post–Will Rogers Memorial Airport in their honor.
That's a serious looking snowy owl. Unfortunately is was too early in the year to see any.
So, I made it to the Top of the World, well at least the top of the U.S., Point Barrow. I had a blast and will go back.

Link to my photo album of this trip, click here.