Wow, I apologize for being MIA for the past 4 months!  Summer field season was busy and, as always, fantastic.  I love field work in Alaska!  Nothing ever goes as planned, but that’s part of the fun, eh?  Here’s a short synopsis of some of my travels:

Sand Point (Popof Island) – Did you know that there is a beach covered in chunks of petrified metasequoia (probably washed up from the Miocene-era petrified forest on nearby Unga Island)? So cool!

Kiana (Kobuk River)  – Kiana is probably the most beautifully-situated village I’ve been to.  It’s located on a bluff overlooking the confluence of the Squirrel and Kobuk Rivers, with the Baird Mountains (western extension of the Brooks Range) rising up behind it (breathtaking on a sunny day!).  Please forgive my awkwardly-shot-from-the-Caravan photo… it doesn’t do it justice!

Upper and Lower Kalskag (Kuskokwim River) – I hadn’t been to Kalskag since 2004, but the people there are as amazing and friendly as ever!  It is definitely one of my favorite places.

Kaktovik (Barter Island) – Although waves and a skillsaw kept us from boating out east to our objective of Demarcation Bay (USFWS won’t let anyone land helicopters or planes in ANWR…sigh), we had a fairly productive and wonderful time around Kaktovik!  I saw my first real-life-up-close polar bears and got some great snapshots of the random Bowhead whale bones propped up against people’s houses.  More importantly, I surveyed my first Inupiat semisubterranean housepits (beautiful!), and on the way home I got to see the famous Ukpiagvik site in Barrow!

So now it’s autumn, and I don’t have the excuse of not being near a computer to explain my lack of blog updates… Instead, I’m going to use the tried and true “I’m busy.”  Currently I am trying to write my MA thesis (final NISP = 8,536, hurrah!), work, apply to PhD programs, move, plan a wedding, and in general keep my sanity.  So if I don’t update regularly during the next few months, those are my excuses.   : )

Please do keep checking back periodically, though, I have a bunch of interesting topics I’d like to discuss!


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