We spent Labour Day weekend in Barrow, Alaska. Barrow is the northernmost community in the United States. It is right on the Arctic Ocean and lies 320 miles above the Arctic Circle. There are no roads that lead from the rest of Alaska to Barrow. To get there you either have to fly or take a boat. Or you could wait until winter and drive across the tundra, but that sounds frightening and dangerous (and I admit kind of cool). The town has a population of around 4000 people.The roads in town can't be paved because of the permafrost. There are absolutely no trees or bushes growing in Barrow. I apologize in advance for the barrage of pictures, but this was a once in a lifetime trip and I wanted to capture as much as possible.
Our flight took us over the mountains. They were beautiful, as you can see from this picture of Denali. I will never get tired of seeing mountains
After checking into our hotel, we headed straight for the Ocean. Husband's goal was to touch it.
My goal was to step in it. It was SOOOO cold!
In front of the Arctic Ocean.
We took a tour with Windows to the World tours. The guide has lived in Barrow for 43 years and knows everything there is to know about the place. He took us all over and told us about living in Barrow. We enjoyed the tour and learned a lot about living above the Arctic Circle.
Inside a whale head!
The high school football field. This thing lays directly on top of tundra and there is absolutely no give to the ground. I can't even imagine how much it hurts when someone gets tackled.
A whale bone garden.
At Point Barrow, the northernmost spot in the United States. At 3:37 PM Alaska Time, on Sunday September 5th 2016, we were farther north than anyone else in the United States.
I wasn't satisfied with my previous stepping in the ocean experience, so I had to do it again. I still don't have feeling back in my feet!
There are whale bones all over the place. People sometimes use them to decorate their yards.
The Whale Bone Arch. It is made from the ribs of a bowhead whale. It is the symbolic gateway to the Arctic Ocean.
I wanted to stop in at the only grocery store in town to check out the prices. WOWZERS! I thought prices were high where I live in Alaska. After seeing these prices, I guess I can't complain too much.
Just so you know, that price is for 30 rolls.
Just some random shots from around town:
Barrow "trees": wooden poles with baleen leaves.
We were too early for the ice to be close to the shore, but we still saw a few icebergs in the distance.
Tundra grass is beautiful during the fall: red, yellow, and a purplish-blue colour.
A road in Barrow. I have no idea how they keep their houses clean with all this dirt and gravel. I would be sweeping and mopping my floors all the time!
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Barrow is the honey bucket. Despite its name, it does not hold honey. About 4% of the houses in Barrow do not have running water. In order to have running water your house must be raised up on stilts. Otherwise, the heat from your home will cause the permafrost to melt and your house will literally start to sink. So, if your house isn't on stills and you don't have running water, you use a bucket lined with a plastic bag to do your bathroom business. Once the bag in the bucket is full, you set it outside. Someone in a truck comes by, collects the waste and then puts the bucket back, upside down, to signify that it has been emptied.
Every seaside town I've been to has its share of brightly coloured houses. Barrow was no exception. This was one of my favourites.
Tundra grass up close.
We stopped in at a general store that sold everything from candy to fabric to school supplies to animal furs. We felt furs from rabbits, beaver, muskrats, and wolverines.
Our plane for our flight out of Barrow was Hawaiian themed. Also, it started snowing as we were leaving. It was an interesting paradox. Also, I think the airline might have been taunting the citizens of Barrow.