MISSION: To visit every state and territory in the U.S. For my mission a visit is greater than a stop over; I wish to explore the natural and cultural environments of these areas. Each of these locations has a story to tell, and I want to find it.

As of February 2018 I have visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico and 2 island in the US Virgin Islands) at least once.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Headed to the TOP OF THE WORLD

YEP - you read that right... I am sitting here in Anchorage right now, and I leave in less than 12 hours for Barrow, Alaska.    Yeah, I know it will be cold... I know it will be dark... yes, I heard there are polar bears, I heard the town is small and there is really only one store... BUT IT IS THE TOP OF THE WORLD.  I am oddly excited!!!

Earlier this year, May, I made it the farthest north I had ever been.  I spent a few days in Fairbanks and crossed the Arctic Circle line with a friend.  We did not quite make it to Coldfoot...  this is several hundred miles further north.  This is right on the Arctic Ocean.  It is the northern most town in North America. 

It will be completely dark there.  It is only a week from the winter solstice...  so today, while I Anchorage, I made sure to get out and enjoy the sunlight (for the few hours it is out here).  Cold, yes, but not Barrow cold.  The sun was not strong, but I needed to store up the vitamin D... I am headed for several days of dark.

For this trip, I had to buy all sorts of new clothing... not only did I need long underwear (which I have never bought/wore before), but I needed things like sock and glove liners, special warm boots, and a head covering.  Skin freezes quickly up there.  At negative 20, 30, 40, 50 things get ugly fast.  I really can't imagine what that kind of cold feels like.  This May, while in Fairbanks, I wanted to visit the "Negative Fifty Experience", but it was closed (since it was not official tourist season yet).  I have spoken to friends and colleagues and about that frigidness, but really how can  you describe it... I guess I will be finding out for myself shortly.   All they tell me is that it is painful.

I will be in  Barrow for only 2 1/2 days.  But that should be enough.  I have my fingers crossed for one clear night... I want to see the aurora!  I have been to Alaska only 3 times in the winter and never seen it... Anchorage is not a great place anyway because the lights get in the way... they say that northern Alaska is better.   According to the news, a storm is coming ... I hope to miss it.  A storm will ruin my chances at seeing the aurora and I really don't want to get stuck up in the land of perpetual night.    (Besides, I have to get back to the east coast by the end of the month to see my Scarlet Knights at the Pinstripe Bowl! - GO RU!!!)

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