Arctic adventures from Northern Alaska, where we’re exploring the role of wolf spiders in the ecosystem (and discovering lots of other tiny wonders of the tundra along the way!).
Riding the road from Fairbanks to Toolik was bumpy, muddy, and long. But it was also a great opportunity for beautiful scenery and wildlife spotting. I got to watch as the primarily deciduous forest turned to conifers and then got shorter and shorter as we drove north, until there were no trees at all.
The highlight of the trip was seeing a brown bear from the road just before the pass through the White Mountains. The staff member driving the truck said he thought it looked like a female. She looked to be in good condition and not too thin after the winter. The bear ambled along, noticing the truck but not seeming bothered or very interested in it. She eventually crossed the road just in front of the truck and disappeared over a hill. The driver said this was the best bear sighting he'd ever seen, so I consider myself pretty lucky to have been along for the ride.
We also saw some ptarmigan in their winter plumage, a red fox, a caribou, several Dall sheep up on a ridge, and some arctic ground squirrels.