Journey To Barrow


The Dartmouth Green on our final day at home

The Dartmouth Green on our final day at home

It was 33 hours after leaving Hanover that we finally arrived in Barrow, AK – our home for the next six weeks. Our first leg of the journey was on the classic mode of transportation for the residents of the Upper Valley, The Dartmouth Coach. And could the Green have given us a better blue bird send off to remind us that where we were headed was much, much colder? Probably not.

We then arrived at Logan airport to embark on the second leg of our journey, a six-hour flight to Seattle, WA departing at 6:40pm EST. However, before this could even start we had a three hour layover in our terminal, and of course, adults that we are, we were drawn immediately to the call of the KidPort. An added bonus of course was that all of the structures were baby proofed so no one got hurt.



Geology of Anchorage viewed from the car

Geology of Anchorage viewed from the car

Our next flight took us to Alaska! (But not quite our final destination.) We stayed the night in Anchorage. The next morning Ross, who was eager to get to Barrow to watch the Superbowl, caught an early flight, while Rachel and I toured the local area.

Geology of Anchorage viewed form the car

Geology of Anchorage viewed form the car

Lucky for us Uber is free in Anchorage right now since they are trying to build up business! So our completely awesome and amazingly tolerant Uber driver, Jourdan Shapiro, drove us around Anchorage and showed us some breathtaking sites.  He happily accommodated our wide-eyed tourism, pulling over patiently whenever we called out, “Stop the car!” so we could run around and capture as many things on film as possible before continuing on. He even showed us the amazing Firestones Rustic Bakery where we picked up some delicious provisions for our trip.

Our first stop on this tour was Lake Hood, a beautiful frozen lake around which were parked ski planes and pontoon planes, each with its own little gear house. Trees covered with sparkling ice crystals completed the picture.

A ski plane parked at the edge of Lake Hood next to its gear shed

A ski plane parked at the edge of Lake Hood next to its gear shed

Though Anchorage itself is very flat, the skyline to the east is dominated by the beautiful Chugach mountain range. From Lake Hood, we traveled out to Point Woronzof, a popular place from which to view the Sleeping Lady, an island off the coast that you can just convince yourself looks like a woman laying on her back.

Sleeping Lady viewed form Point Woronzof

Sleeping Lady viewed from Point Woronzof

Finally, we drove out to a spot where we could view the expanse of Anchorage. In the far distance you can see the Alaska Mountain range, which contains Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America at 20,322’.

Anchorage seen from the south

Anchorage and the Alaska Range, seen from the south

To our dismay, this outing had to came to an end in order for us to catch our flight to Barrow, and spend 3+ more hours on a plane (boy are we sick of flying!). Although it was a full sized 737, only the rear of the plane was used for passengers. The front had been converted to a cargo hold. Everything must be flown in to Barrow, there are no roads from the southern part of the state, so the plane was carrying mail and provisions, as well as passenger luggage. We arrived in Barrow at 6:30 pm Alaska Standard Time (four hours behind EST) to a one-room airport equipped with TSA, a boarding area, and a baggage claim.

Rachel Obbard walking onto our final flight from Anchorage to Barrow, AK

Rachel Obbard boarding our final flight from Anchorage to Barrow, AK

Apparently, while we were in the air, the Patriots won in the most exciting Super Bowl game ever! So sorry to all of those Seahawks fans that we met on the flight to Seattle… (and thank you again for not throwing Ross, wearing his Patriots sweatshirt, off the plane!)

Barrow greeted us with pretty mild weather (above 0˚F!) which is potentially bad for sea ice conditions but not for our adjustment at least! Now sitting in the comfort of our little house equipped with heat, beds, and a kitchen, I say bring on the cold! And get ready for some snowmobiling practice tomorrow.





One comment

  1. obxflymidn · February 3, 2015

    Thanks for letting me know you all (or most) arrived safely! Awaiting a pic of your cozy little heated house! But how can it be Feb 3rd at 12:45am there, while it’s 7:45 pm Feb 2 (actually, now 9 pm as I write this) here? What time zone are you in, anyway!? We’re still on Groundhog Day. Snowmobile safely, don’t do wheelies into the drink. Love, mom


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