Alaska Science Forum

August 11, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
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 3, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
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
By
Ned Rozell
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 18, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
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 12, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
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 27, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
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 20, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
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...
June 15, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
GOLD RUN CREEK --- This clear waterway running through boreal swampland marks the farthest Cora and I will be from a highway during our summer hike along the route of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. If we chose to bust overland southwest toward Banner Creek, we would have to cover at least nine boggy miles before we reached the Richardson Highway. Backtracking to the nearest pipeline access road would...
June 8, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
RIKA'S ROADHOUSE -- Sitting in the shade of a poplar, I watch the Tanana River flow by. It's flat and tan, dimpled by eddies and darted over by swallows that sound like they are chewing rubber bands. I slept last night with my wife, daughter and dog in the upstairs of a handsome, two-story log structure that has stood since before World War I. Tonight, Cora and I will sleep there again. Judy...
June 1, 2017
By
Ned Rozell
Who is this girl, hair in braids, emerging from the tent with a full backpack? She is 10 years old, a recent fourth grade graduate, out here with a friend from her class. Within the 20-year-old tent they share, they stay up for hours, chatting and giggling. It is mountain music. The girl, my daughter Anna, spoke to me a few days ago as I walked beside her. "I'm never coming out here again to hike...