Steffi's Arctic Journey

All great stories start with some great unknown. Where to go? What to do? My lil' cousin Steffi came up from Dan Creek, AK in search of... I dunno what, but boy did she see something. The night before she left Toolik Field Station she came by my weatherport in the twilight hours to drop off her USB stick full of photos. She was here for about 10 days as a research volunteer. We didn't get to hang too much... I was in the kitchen, she was out hiking the mountains. 6 hours ago I started paging through her photos and I felt the awe and wonder that she must have felt visiting Fairbanks, Toolik and the surroundings. And really... for the rest of this post I don't want to creep on the natural power of the camera she carries and her imagination; the photos speak for themselves. I just want to thank you for sharing your art. Now let the story begin at the UAF Museum of the North.

Deep words.

Life through a lens captures life itself for a brief moment in time.

Comtemporary explorers use mountain bikes, not horses.

Fairbanks. Her first night in northern Alaska.

The G.I.

The fields beyond UAF.

The Haul Road north from Fairbanks to Toolik.

The first pitstop.

The outhouse.


A snaking pipeline signifies an increase in incline... helps prevent backflow.

Another pitstop right next to the Yukon River. Why everyone has white coloured vehicles on this road is beyond me.

Through the Brooks Range.

Just beyond the Brooks, near Toolik, the road is being redone.

Toolik Lake.

Home of the Arctic Squirrels.

A few weeks ago I noticed an oil slick on a small pond adjacent to one of our bike trails... what's causing it?

But, the majority of the bodies of water are pristene.

Welcome to Toolik.


I think he's studying the CO2 or N at depth in the Toolik Lake. She'll know more about this since she was on the boat.

Looks like she got a feel of the boardwalks.


Fishing eh.

Off to the hills.

Coffee on the crick.

Blueberries in the bush.

Gotta get down somehow.

A couple days before she left I was asked to be the taximan to Prudoe Bay and she got to sit in the pasenger seat.

Within minutes of departing Toolik we came across some yelling on the CB... then some camo hunters with bows slithering through tundra... then the caribou. I had never seen caribou til then. Now they're everywhere.

At one point a couple hit the road right in front of our van. I followed... and followed. After 10 minutes of following them I asked the science crew behind how I could get them out of the way. The one guy goes, "apply pressure." So, I reared up right on them slowly and they bounced off the road.

The only stoplight on the 414-mile highway.

The passengers.

Welcome to Deadhorse/Prudoe Bay. Flat, machines, drilling camps, BP, square.

After hours of chit chat I found out that Stef would like to be an EMT. How about being a ski patrol EMT? Ski and save lives, sounds like a great occupation to me.

I had to drop off some mail from Toolik at the only post office in northern Alaska.

Heading back south.

I'll pick up where this ends in a few days...