Alyeska Pipeline and Musk Ox

Arctic Circle

Arctic Circle

Alaska  РThe road between Fairbanks Alaska to Deadhorse in Prudhe Bay is about 450 miles in length and ends at the Arctic Ocean. The Alyeska Pipeline is within sight a good deal of the way. Gasoline is available at Yukon Crossing, Coldfoot, and at Deadhorse Camp in the Prudhoe Bay area.

Alyeska Pipeline

Alyeska Pipeline

Make sure your vehicle or bicycle is in good shape as there are not any repair facilities along the way. Some people even walk this route but they are a hardy lot with plenty of time and energy and enthusiasm. In the picture below this is the only place I have seen a house near the pipeline. I don’t think anyone actually lives there but there must be an interesting story behind this arrangement. Anyone?

Alyeska Pipeline and house

Alyeska Pipeline and house

There is a very good Arctic visitor information post in Coldfoot AK. There is a truckers cafe and gas depot at the Coldfoot Camp there on the other side of the highway. I paid 4.59 a gal for gasoline last week (Sept 2016). Gasoline is also available in Deadhorse where I paid 4.95 a gallon last week. There really are not shops an this road named the Dalton Highway – also known as the haul road.

cooling fins

cooling fins keep the supports cool so the permafrost deep below does not thaw

The supports holding up the pipeline are kept cool by the use of these cooling fins. The idea is to keep the supports from melting the permafrost and sinking in.

Teflon supports

Teflon supports

The pipeline isn’t actually attached to the supports it rests on. The support beams are level and the pipe bracket rests upon some Teflon pads so the pipe can move instead 0f being held rigid and inflexible. This takes into account the huge temperature differences between summer and winter and the expansion and contraction that result.

Alyeska Pipeline

Alyeska pipeline

Also earthquakes are very common in Alaska but many turns in the pipe and the Teflon pads allow a lot of movement without breaking anything.

Atigun Pass

Atigun Pass

The weather south of the Atigun Pass can be very different than that on the northers side of this mountain pass. There are long grades going uphill and downhill and there is often snow up there. Be advised that there is always the avalanche danger because of the steepness of the terrain and the snow can break free at any time. Atigun pass elevation 4,739 ft. – the only pass in the Brooks Range crossed by road.

Alyeska Pipeline

Alyeska Pipeline

I often thought the created drama reality TV type shows often fabricate the situation to make things look more sensational to gain more viewing but the truckers that drive this route really deserve respect for running this route safely with large loads keeping Prudhoe Bay supplied year round.

Alyeska Pipeline

pipeline route over the pass

Musk ox – There were 17 musk oxen about 30 miles south of Prudhoe Bay. They were busily feeding as winter was just around the corner and hard times ahead.

musk oxen in the Arctic

musk oxen on the tundra

They are not overly concerned with visitors and I was basically ignored as I waited for them to put their head up for a photo.

musk ox grazing

musk ox grazing

I will walk in a long way with knee high boots as walking on the tundra is very spongy and wet.

Musk Ox on the North Slope

Musk Ox on the North Slope

Road worker

road worker

road worker in Prudhoe Bay

Portable drilling rig. These rigs are usually moved about in the wintertime so there is not as much damage to the tundra as it will be frozen solid.

portable drilling rig

portable drilling rig

North Slope – Deadhorse

oil rigs

oil rigs on the North Slope

It is rare that people are just walking around in his area. Everyone is just in Prudhoe Bay to work usually on two week on – two week off schedules. All housing and food is paid by the oil companies and the workers stay in large dormitory style housing. There will be a gym and entertainment centers and there is even a full sized swimming pool somewhere that is also a reserve water supply for fire patrol to use if necessary.

hardy swimmer

taking a dip in the Arctic Ocean

Arctic Ocean – a very hardy swimmer took a very quick dip and did a fer breast strokes in the Arctic ocean. Ray and Nate both took a quick swim and proved themselves to be the one percenters !

Brazo – well done ! Be advised that you can not actually drive up to the Arctic Shores in a private vehicle as a tourist. You must go in a security van run by the people up there in Prudhoe. (a logical precaution)

Arctic Ocean

Arctic Ocean

dutchpickle logo

dutchpickle on the slope

Arctic Ocean

note – I will try to add to this page when I get a better internet connection

I am back at my home base in Homer Alaska right now and have good internet speed.

I was just reading in the Alaska Dispatch News (Monday  Sept 12 2016 ) that has just been a potential major oil discovery in the Nanushuk formation that might be one of the largest oil discoveries in Alaska.

Alyeska Pipeline

Alyeska pipeline

Musk ox

Musk Ox in Prudhoe Bay

the musk ox of the Arctic

update – in the same paper on the front page Alaska Dispatch News Sept 12 2016

Sacred Stone Camp near Cannon Ball N.D. ” A large and diverse gathering assembles in North Dakota to take a stand against oi pipeline”

amazing story – 280 Native American Tribes represented there

more musk ox near Prudhoe Bay Alaska on the tundra below

musk ox group

group of musk oxen on the tundra

Tundra view – south end of north bound musk ox

the back side of a musk ox

the backside of a musk ox

Beluga I saw this morning near Beluga Point on the Turnagain Arm

Beluga whale

Beluga whale

dutchpickle Alaska – unorganized collection of observations and pictures

dutchpickle logo

dp logo

Sep 9, 2016 www.dutchpickle.com

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