The Dalton Highway, sights along the way to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay–
Our drive from our boondock site to Deadhorse was bumpy but wonderful. We saw so many animals along the way! Saw lots of birds, artic ground squirrels, artic caribou, musk ox, and a wolverine. Wolverines are so difficult to see in the wild we didn’t even hope to see one. We saw so many different types of birds it was amazing. Now we know why birders from all over the world come here! Saw owls, ducks, and many types of geese. In fact, if the Canadians are wondering where their geese are, most of them are on this wetland that is still partially frozen. We can’t even name half the birds we saw but it was so enjoyable to watch them. The area looks, for all the world, like a rookery for many types of birds.
Think of the most industrial part of a city you have ever seen. That is what Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay looks like. The industrial look is unrelenting. Huge trailers serve as contractors offices and the motels look absolutely utilitarian. The place is flooded with big trucks and some pick-up trucks. Dirt roads filled with pot holes and mud completes the look.
Artic Ocean Tour–
We met our guide for the Artic Ocean tour at 2:45 pm along with a fellow tourist, Mary from Anchorage, Alaska. The yellow industrial building in the Deadhorse camp does not have a sign on it but they told us they were expecting us. All the land fronting the Artic Ocean in Prudhoe Bay is owned by the oil companies and no one can go on their property with out security clearance through a tour group. Apparently the security guards at the entrance of the oil fields have turned away some folks that didn’t know the rules. That would be too sad after coming all this way.
It is about ten miles from the security guard house to the Artic Ocean and our guide, Grant, was very knowledgeable. The Artic Ocean is still frozen, the ice will break up in July and soon after it will refreeze. There is a little water on top of the ice and it is covered in snow. It was fun to see and we were all glad we made the trip. We only spent a short time at the Artic Ocean by choice. We didn’t trust the ice enough to walk out on it.
They said there had been a Polar Bear in the area but now it is too warm and he has moved on. Also, there was a grizzly there yesterday or the day before but she too was no where around. Darn! We just want to see them not pet them.
We left Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay right after our tour. The “town’ area is quite unlovely. Drove back to the area of our last night’s boondock site. Read for awhile and fell asleep in what appeared to be broad daylight. There was an Alaska University researcher camping near us. We understand they are researching the wetlands, global warming, etc.