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Not a Bear,

So, I just spent the last 3 days in the village of Kaktovik on Barter Island. From listening to friends, students, and coworkers, the village brings to mind three things; ANWR, The Bone Yard, and the Marsh Creek Inn.

Kaktovik lies off the coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; its residents hunt in the area, and they will be directly affected by any changes to its status. How the particulars are likely to shake out is the subject of a different post.

The bone yard at Kaktovic is a well known bear hang out. It’s located just off the end of the runway, and it is a regular attraction for polar bears, …and people with cameras. I didn’t get out to the bone yard itself, but I did get to watch a mother and her cubs amble their way toward town. …Later that night I awoke to the sound of shots fired in an effort to scare them off. The next day, I spoke with a lady whose supply of seal oil stores had been raided the night before and another who had been up all night on bear patrol …you could say that this time of year, the population of Kaktovic increases a bit.

…and the difference is bears.

Finally, the food at the Marsh Creek Inn has been nothing short of legendary among my friends and coworkers. Mike, the proprietor of the inn, serves not only as the clerk and the head cook, he often drives the shuttle out to the airport. His cooking surpassed my expectations. It was fantastic.



It took me a couple extra days to get out of Barter Island. Fog proved to be the culprit on day one, but day two was a mystery. The plane didn’t leave Fairbanks until it was too late to make my connections. Tonight I’m in Dead Horse, one step closer to home at any rate.

Here are my pics from Kaktovik (you may click a picture to embiggen it):