Monday June 18th
(Barrow to Fairbanks)
We left Barrow this morning (first pix) where it was a
beautiful spring day, 33 degrees and 15 MPH wind. I never had the
opportunity to be quite this far north (second pix). I remember Sharon and
I got into the 60's in Greenland but we never got this far north.
was goodbye to the Arctic Ice (third pix).
It is basically pretty flat between Barrow and the northernmost part of the
Brooks Range. This is a mountain range that runs east-west and is about
150 miles from the northern most point to the southern point. A little to
the east of the direct line from Barrow to Fairbanks is the Anaktuvuk Pass
(fourth pix). If the weather is good enough, which it was today, you can
fly fairly low over the John River which starts at the pass (fifth pix) and
continues for about 150 miles to its southern terminus (sixth pix) at the town
of Bettles (seventh pix).
It was really a spectacular ride. We slowed up a bit and the trip took 3
1/2 hours. We could have made it in about 2:45 if we went direct but the
detour, and the slower flying, was well worth it. South of Bettles we
crossed the Arctic Circle. The airlines give you a little certificate.
All we have is this picture (eighth pix).
By the way, the Arctic Circle is the invisible circle of latitude on the earth's
surface at 66°33' north (approx), marking the southern limit of the area where
the sun does not rise on the winter solstice or set on the summer solstice - a
geographic ring crowning the globe. (Jay Stout told me that you get to
that number by taking 90 degrees and subtracting the tilt of the earth of
approximately 23 degrees. I don't know how he knows this stuff!)
We arrived in Fairbanks at about one o'clock and again checked into the Sophie
Station Hotel. We had a so so dinner and we expect to get up a little
early tomorrow to fly down to McCarthy Airport to pick up Andy and Angie.
They have been hiking / climbing / camping / tenting since last Wednesday.
We will fly them back with us to Fairbanks were we will spend Tuesday night.
McCarthy is a VFR (visual) runway only. It is generally a one way strip,
landing to the North and taking off to the South (this is done since there is a
mountain at the northern end). We'll be a little lighter since we will be
carrying 144 gallons of fuel instead of the usual 192 gallons.
It will be good to see Andy and Angie again. They will be traveling with
us for the next week to Talkeetna (Northern Exposure), Homer (birthplace of Tom
Bodett (we'll leave the light on fur ya), and Seward (boat trip to see the
Glaciers). We will fly next Monday evening to Anchorage. Andy and
Angie will fly back to their home in Denver on Tuesday. We are staying in Anchorage and
expect to meet Howard Brown, a friend from the Philadelphia area. We plan on
having dinner together before Howard goes "train'n" and we go "fly'n."
Again, thanks for joining us.
71 degrees North Latitude
John River (northern part of pass)
John River (southern part of pass)
Bettles- Airport and Town