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Most people live their entire lifetime without ever seeing the Arctic Ocean. So if you come this far, you might as well get your feet wet.
The Arctic Ocean is completely frozen most of the year, but in summer the ice around the shore thaws for several miles out. The beach is comprised of small smooth pebbles, and the water is somewhat warmer than ice. Just kick off your shoes, roll up your pants, and do it! You'll have bragging rights for the rest of your life.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
The image I have from the air shows that the Artic Ocean in July, 1960 was still full of ice. My Aunt Margaret poses for a photo on the beach without a jacket, although the native boy is wearing one. Note that she is wearing a skirt and probably 3" heals, which as typical for her travel at the time. (My Uncle Chris typically wore a suit and tie when he traveled.) Note the ice in the water beyond the gravelly beach. Sorry the images aren't better, but between the old slide, my slide scanner, and VT colors, it's hard to get better quality. The link below is to a high school student paper of some interest. Written and posted by several students, it documents the global warming problem as it affects Barrow, Alaska. The National Geographic link provides abbreviated description of the climate change with an image.
Updated May 17, 2006
Here are the images of town in 1960. Note the unpaved road, the waterfront, and the "shopping mall". At this time all lumber had to be brought in by ship. The local church had a Cessna that provided medical and professional transport for the church. I'm not sure how my aunt and uncle arrived, but they almost certain came by plane.
Written May 17, 2006
It gets pretty cold there. I was there in April and I was freezing and I live in a pretty cold winter environment. I suppose something you could do would be to go to the highschool gym and work out. I never made it there myself. You really need to know the locals in this town. :)
Written May 25, 2005
Here is the geographical top of the USA. the cold wind is getting me hard, and I am chanting, "Get the picture, just get the picture." Behind me is the frozen Arctic Ocean. Beyond that is the North Pole, the real one. We saw a polar bear near here trying to get some of the whale remains left here from the annual whale hunt that the natives make. We were taken to the point in a special vehicle that had tracks instead of tires. In winter, you cannot simply drive up there. The point is a few miles north of the town itself.
Updated Jan 5, 2005
This arch, made from the ribs of a bowhead whale, is the signature spot in Barrow. It is a symbolic gateway to the Arctic Ocean as much as the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River in St. Louis is an entrance to the American West.
I was excited to have my picture made here, even in the fog, because I had seen the arch on virtually every article and brochure I had read about Barrow in preparation of my trip. There is nothing particularly remarkable about the arch except that it symbolizes the dependence upon the whale for the very existence and survival of the Inupiat Eskimos who have survived and thrived in this harsh environment for five thousand years.
Updated Aug 24, 2004
Along the windswept coast of the Chukchi Sea, about 13 miles south of Barrow, America's beloved humorist, Will Rogers, along with pilot Wiley Post, died when their small aircraft crashed On August 15, 1935. The adventurous duo were seeking a better route to Siberia via Alaska. ID tags from the plane can be seen at the old Whaling Captain's Station on the Bowersville side of Barrow.
The original monument is located at the crash site, in the area known as "Hollywood," because the Walt Disney movie, "Track of the Giant Snow Bear" was filmed there. It can only be reached on foot, by four-wheeler, or snow machine.
This Will Rogers - Wiley Post Monument is about a block east of the airport, in front of the visitors center. It is from near this spot that their bodies were shipped back home for burial.
Updated Aug 23, 2004
Address: Ogrook Street at Momegana Street
The Naval Arctic Research Laboratory (NARL) was established by the U.S. Navy in 1944, near Point Barrow on the shores of the Arctic Ocean. At it's peak, in 1966, the laboratory employed more than 200 scientists, however it had served its purpose by 1984, and was closed. The facility was then turned over to Barrow's Ukpeaquik Inupiat Corporation (UIC) which converted the building pictured here into a Science Center.
It was very interesting to visit the Center and view a number of scientific exhibits and posters which outline various research projects. In addition to these exhibits, the center also hosts the Barrow Birding Center and the Barrow-Toolik Schoolyard Project, which gives public presentations concerning ongoing research, especially geared toward sutdents, every Saturday.
Updated Aug 23, 2004
Address: 360 NARL, Barrow, AK 99723
One of the more enjoyable stops we made on our tour of Barrow was to the Inupiat Heritage Center. There we viewed the museum exhibits of Inupiat culture and history, both human and natural, especially as it relates to whaling. We also watched and participated in a lively presentation of native music, dance and games. Programs are held virtually every afternoon. Following the entertainment, native artists and craftspersons display their work, which may be purchased.
The Center is an affiliated area of the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park in New Bedford, MA. It is owned by the North Slope Borough and managed by Ilisagvik College.
It this photo young Inupiat men and women are presenting one of many dances to the music of walrus skin drums and chanting. This was a highlight of the visit to Barrow.
Adult - $5.00
Ages 15-17 - $2.00
Ages 7-14 - $1.00
Children and Seniors - free
Updated Aug 23, 2004
Address: 5421 North Star Street, Barrow, AK99723
Here's the approach to Runway 6 at Barrow, on a clear day. (400 ft ceilings)
FYI: Runways are numbered, based on the approximate compass heading with which they are oriented. ie: Runway 6 has a compass heading from 055 to 064 degrees.
Written Sep 4, 2003
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