Beach combing in Barrow

So Penny and I met up with Heidi and her 2 dogs for a walk on the beach. Or actually, I guess it was a walk on the Arctic Ocean itself.

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She was quite comfortable hoping over the breaks in the ice, but coming from Lake Michigan winters I was much more skittish about the security of jumping onto and off of basically icebergs. Of course they AREN’T really icebergs, but for my uninitiated brain, they might as well have been.

The breaks in the ice are called leads, and they are the first sign the ice pack is breaking up.

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The ice we were walking on was pretty rotten, and I slipped and slid all over the place, but the dogs had a blast!

We finally made it safely (and dryly!) to sand, and beach combing in Alaska yields some very different finds than back home.

Caribou head:

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Dead seal carcass:

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And baleen from a baleen whale. This is the stuff that hangs down in the mouths of certain whales (baleen whales to be exact) and filters out krill and other food for the whale. Apparently you can clean these up and have them carved into cool designs.

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Looking forward to more ice melt and more sea ice break up, as I’m told the colors of the icebergs as they break away are amazing.

Stay tuned!

 

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CARROT QUINN

dispatches from the wild

Wandering the Wild

Backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail and Beyond

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