Alaska, ANWR, Arctic, Nature, Photography, Photos, Polar Bears, Wildlife
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):
wow – what great pics – especially the little church, and the birds enjoying the bones and the bear cubs. Thanks 🙂
Thank you for this comment (sorry I am so late). I never did get a chance to see why the birds are so interested i the whale bones. But it was certainly a cool find.
Enjoying your photos! Love how your posts take me somewhere so different from anywhere I’ve been. Thanks! Deadhorse, YK? Not a bad place to hang out if that’s where you were.
I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. ..Deadhorse was neat too, but I was especially fond of Kaktovik. …might be the bears.
Great photos! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for visiting.
Truly beautiful. I also admire your skills at placing pictures artistically. Carry on… Best, Micheline
Thank you Micheline. …One of these days I will learn what the extra buttons on my camera do. 🙂
The extra buttons. Those are the real challenges. I like your post.
What a great adventure – love the pics of the polar bears!
One day I will go back and get bears on the bone-yard, and THAT will be very cool. thank you for stopping by my neck of the net.
Love those bear pictures!
Hopefully I can get more someday.
Gosling Craig said:
Thanks. Great blog.
Thank you, Gosling.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Wow you live in a wonderful part of the world – so different from where I am. I would love to see a polar bear in the wild (but obviously not too close up)!! The only ‘wildlife’ I get to experience are chavs!!
What is their purpose for hunting whales?
Food. Along with tutu (Caribu) muktuk (whale blubber) is standard fare up here in the North Slope.
I enjoyed this post a lot. Wow, but life where you are is so different to ours. I would really like to visit the places you describe one day.
Well, Alaska is definitely full of great paces to visit. It’s different up here, that’s for sure.
Layers II is quite surreal – the icebergs look like clouds hanging a little too low – love it!
Thank you Mississhippi.
Thanks for these photos, they really give a good impression of the Far North. And for reminding me of “embiggen” – I will use it every day. The bird on the water photo is brilliant. Hope they treat my polar cousins well up there.
’embiggen’ is a good word. I forget where I first read it, probably on the Freethought Forums.
Think I first heard it on The Simpsons.
Great pics. Silly question time: Why are all the buildings built up from the ground? (I was going to say, “on stilts” but they only look like their a foot or two off the ground.)
They are built that way because of the permafrost. If you put the house on a normal foundation, it will melt the ground and then go conky-wobble. So, you sink pylons about 15 feet or so and build a pad on that. It’s funny though, communities are often full of houses that got as far as pounding the pylons in. …and construction projects are particularly noisy in the early stages.
So basically they ARE on stilts . . . just the “mostly in the ground” kind. I can just imagine all the ebbing and flowing of the ground during thaw and freeze. Cool, thanks–I learned something today 🙂
Yeah, their on stilts. That was the first thing i noticed when I came up here, …well that and people in shorts at freezing temperatures.
Bosun Dawg said:
Thanks for the trip. The “arctic cotton” is very pretty.
It is. Grows all over the place up here. Can’t think of many other flowers that do.
Victor Ho said:
Thanks for visiting my blog. We couldn’t be more opposite. I’m in the Middle East now where the temp has been sunny 100+ since I arrived. And it’ll still be 90 in December. All the best.
We should split the difference on our temperatures, ha! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hello. I enjoyed yours.
Linda W said:
Nice series! Love the bear cubs.
Thank you, Linda.
Ana Eugenio said:
great blog!! I’m a new fan 🙂 thank you for taking us on your trip too. delightful. wishing you a good flight back home. xxo
Thank you Ana.
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What super photos!
You are very kind.
Thanks for the like! Love your photos especially of the bear cubs and arctic cotton…
Absolutely, on the like. I’m glad you liked the cubs.
moi du toi photography said:
Aw! Those bear cubs were gorgeous!! Thanks so much for stopping by my place and leaving a gift, have a happy day!
Absolutely, thank you for stopping by my own blog.
What an awesome blog! Thanks for vistiting mine and giving me a chance to view yours. Looking forward to more!
Thank you Artzent. I’m glad we found each other.
mary mageaumarymageau said:
Wonderful photo /prose article. Looking forward to more of your writing.
mary mageau said:
Great photo/prose story. Those polar bears so close by scared me to death. Hope to see more.
Thank you Mary. Hopefully, I can find some more bears some day. I seem to just miss them all the time.
So cute, those cubs. Your story took me back to those two seasons long ago spent in the Baird Mtns., Gates, a visit to Pt Hope that turned into 3 days stuck. Great times.
Sounds like you had great visits yourself. Point Hope is a very neat place.
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Maria Falvey said:
Those bears truly possess the cult of personality and the arctic cotton dancing on the wind is captivating. Thanks for a peek inside the frontier.