This post will turn out to be rather long simply because there is so much to say about Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay
Deadhorse is the name of the town in the Prudhoe Bay area. It was a fascinating place, much different than I expected. It isn’t actually a town, since few people live there continuously. Most come up and work for a few weeks and then return down south for a few weeks off.
Everything here is about producing oil and the facilities for tourists are minimal. Here is our first view after we got off the plane.
From the picture you can see the terrain is very flat and there are no trees and little other vegetation. Everything is built on gravel pads spread over the permafrost.
Here is a view of our “hotel” the Arctic Caribou Inn
Like nearly every structure here, it is a prefab building that was trucked up the Dalton Highway in pieces.
The accommodations were Spartan though we were pleased to find our room had its own bath and shower, something we had been told we wouldn’t have.
That afternoon ( 06/19) we took a guided tour of the oilfields with a stop at the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Security was quite strict. Everyone had to have scheduled the the tour prior to arriving and then verify their identity when they got on the bus. The only time we were allowed off the bus was at the “beach”
Here are a few pictures from that tour. Below is an unbelievably immense mobile drilling rig.
People up here don’t just work, they have a sense of humor too. Here is the Prudhoe Bay National Forest. Note the pink Flamingo in the foreground.
Nearly everywhere you looked were well-heads, each in its own cubical enclosure. We pulled up close to one and could see the “Christmas tree” inside and actually hear the oil and gas flowing into the pipes.
Here is a view of the Arctic Ocean. Probably as close to the North Pole as I’ll ever get. On the horizon at the left you can just see the sea ice which is a few hundred yards offshore.
This was the one place where we were allowed off the bus and many took the opportunity to wade or touch the 34°F water. Here is Jan putting her hand in.
While we were in Deadhorse there was a group of motorcyclists who were raising money for the Special Olympics. Their plan was to ride from Deadhorse, AK to Key West, FL We heard many tales of woe about the difficulty of riding the ~400 miles of gravel on the Dalton Highway. Many bikes were damaged and at least one totaled before they even got to Deadhorse to start their run. Here are some of their bikes in front of the Arctic Caribou Inn.
Absolutely fascinating story and pictures Tom. Many thanks for sharing them !
I hope there will still be ice to see in a few years from now……
This has been a wonderfully well documented and photographed trip thus far Tom!
I’ve read every word with interest and enjoyed seeing all the photos!
Keep ’em coming my friend!
Hon, you forgot to mention that there was a “heat wave” going on…the day we landed, it was 45 with high winds…a little higher in temperature than normal. And, yes, having our own bathroom was a big + since we thought we would either have to share with a whole floor or use an outhouse (not uncommon for Alaska). I have to admit that Prudhoe Bay was not what I thought it would be like…guess I thought there might of been at least one tree somewhere but not. Sure glad we went though…great experience!
The story and the pictures were awesome. What a thrill to be there! The “hotel” was something else. I loved the pink flamingo!
I am enjoying the story of your trip. Looks like a lot of fun. Did anyone go swimming in the nice, warm arctic ocean? Oh wait, you mean 34 F…
Is it possible to set up your RSS feed to include the entire blog entry instead of just the first part?
Allanimal – It turns out that if I split the post (to make it more dial-up friendly), then the RSS feed gets cut off at that point. Don’t think I can change that without really digging into the guts of the code.
I’ll change the temperature to avoid ambiguity. 😉