News Archive

August 17, 2017
A few days ago, Cora the dog and I walked across a footbridge spanning a natural moat flowing through northern tundra plants. There, we reached mile 0 of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the finish of a south-to-north walk across Alaska, most of it on the service road that parallels the pipeline. Though the orange-and-black mile markers along the pipe read 800 in Valdez and 0 near Prudhoe Bay, due...
August 10, 2017
FRANKLIN BLUFFS — I said goodbye to my final hiking partner today outside a van on the side of a gravel highway. For the remaining 40 miles in my summer hike along the path of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, it will be just Cora and me. When I walked away from Eric Troyer and the muddy Northern Alaska Tour Company van that was taking him south, I wondered if he was relieved or bummed not to keep going...
August 9, 2017
The most common types of satellite images are only able to see the “top” of the sky — if it is a cloudy day, the satellite will only be able to see the tops of the clouds. For weather forecasters studying sea ice, this can be a large problem. “Consider if you were riding a satellite looking down at Alaska in the springtime,” said Eric Stevens, a science liaison at the Geographic Information...
August 3, 2017
University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers recently gave Juneau and Sitka new information about what ocean waters near these Southeast Alaska communities might do during a tsunami. The information came from UAF Geophysical Institute tsunami modelers Elena Suleimani and Dmitry Nicolsky. They’re working to provide inundation maps and other information to the 60 to 70 Alaska communities that could...
August 3, 2017
SAGANAVIRKTOK RIVER — August, here so soon. And we just passed Trans-Alaska Pipeline mile 100, which means that distance remains on our summer hike from Valdez to Prudhoe Bay. My dog Cora and I started walking on April 30, which means we’re in our fifth month of sleeping outside. For this week, I’m hiking with Eric Troyer, who ran the White Mountains 100 race in less than two days this spring. I...
July 28, 2017
ATIGUN RIVER — Goodbye, red squirrels. On our summer-long hike along the path of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, this morning my dog Cora and I left the last tangle of boreal forest along America’s highway system. We walked away from a campsite of white spruce and balsam poplar that shielded us during a rain and wind storm the day before. The squeak we heard from a red squirrel, whose diet is mostly...
July 20, 2017
I suspected my brief dogless period was coming to an end when my wife and daughter were looking at puppies on the Internet. We had a few months earlier lost Poops, a Labrador retriever mix, to a tumor on a front paw. Though it was strange not to have a creature greeting you with socks in its mouth, I was enjoying the break from responsibility. But Kristen and Anna found a crop of puppies being...
July 13, 2017
JIM RIVER — On this cobble bar north of the Arctic Circle, it is a fine day. The sky is a sheet of blue, a breeze wraps us with clean air, a sandpiper mom shrieks over her hatchlings. They are gray-blue puffballs, extra cute and almost invisible amid the stones. In short, this is a perfect morning for the human creature, with its narrow range of comfort regarding temperature and insects. Along my...
June 29, 2017
YUKON RIVER — It's high summer, past the solstice. Everything is alive here on the path of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Since I started this hike across Alaska on the last day of April in Valdez, the country has softened, greened up and started flowing. Before we blink and it's winter solstice again, here’s a description of this north-south line across the state at the time of light. Light is a...
June 22, 2017
FAIRBANKS — I left my home here to begin a hike along the Trans-Alaska pipeline in late April. Returning in June, I am stunned by the green of it all. It’s like winter to summer in one day. I’ve been in Alaska’s second-largest city for a few days now, resupplying for the trip north as I hike with my dog on the path of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Three hundred fifty miles down, 450 to go. Walking...