Farewell and Reflections

Fort Collins, Colorado
40.585260200000, -105.084423000000
Journal Entry:

Hi, students! Jessie here, back from Alaska and reflecting on the past several weeks and months. Wow, it is hard to believe the ARCSPIN Expedition in Arctic Alaska has come to a close. We had a fun, adventurous, and successful time collecting samples of permafrost, ground ice, plants, mushrooms, lake water, lake sediment, ocean water, and air samples. It was hard work, but very fun riding out onto the tundra almost every day with our scientific gear strapped to our ATVs. We saw some very beautiful scenery as the tundra went through its autumn colors. We also rode in a small boat in the ocean and large lagoon at the very northern point of Alaska to collect water samples. It was rough with the waves at times, and other times it was very smooth and sunny. 

We saw lots of cool animals, including jellyfish, seals, bowhead whales, and beluga whales in the ocean, and snowy owls, tundra swans, and Arctic foxes on land. We even saw a polar bear right along the beach as we arrived in Utqiagvik, which was a wonderful and unexpected experience as we watched it eat a walrus safely from our truck! It was also fun talking to the Alaskan Natives who have families that have lived up in Northern Alaska for generations.