Thursday, July 18, 2013

Haul Road Trucking (Summer Version)

Last week I made a summer version of the Haul Road trip I did back in late February (LINK) for work. The intent of this trip was to gather B-roll footage of summer driving conditions on the road for a training currently in development.
Aside from the obviously different season, on this trip, we flew from Anchorage to Fairbanks, picked up a company truck, and drove north, flying back to Anchorage from Deadhorse.
We flew into a smoky Fairbanks early Monday morning, and got on the road not long after landing. The itinerary for the trip took up to Pump 6 on day one; to Pump 4 on day 2; day 3 we stuck around the station to gather footage in Atigun Pass and on the facility; and on day 4, we made the final leg to the Deadhorse Airport.
Start of the Haul Road.

Truck traffic in the summer is less than in winter due to an often soft and muddy road, as evidenced by this rig completing its journey.

I found this rig near the entrance to the road. Guess it didn't make it.

Sucks to be a sign in this state.

The Fireweed was in full bloom south of Atigun Pass. Driving through the old burns it was very apparent how this plant got its name.

While walking a stretch of the right-of-way, I went to take a peek under a pipe support (VSM) when a robin flew out. I stuck my camera up above the VSM and snapped a photo, and low and behold, found this. I left after that.

A Yukon River Barge. I had no idea these things were so big.

I suspect this trucker had some choice words for the driver of the old van who decided to pull in front of him. Heading south-bound, the slippery, wooden-decked Yukon Bridge climbs the south bank of the Yukon at a 6-percent grade, so truckers ramp up speed on the approach, and certainly don't like when tourists in rickety vans pull in front of them...

On day 2 we went up and over Atigun Pass. The foothills approaching the Brooks Range are some of the most impressive mountains in the state.

Panoramic from the Pass.

"The Shelf"

On the north side of the Pass we found clearing skies with remnant clouds hunkered into the crevasses of the mountains.

Jorge takes a picture of a mud covered GoPro.

Day 3 was mostly spent in a thick fog near the Pass and at the pump station. Shooting for the training was productive, but it didn't leave much for the blog.
Dwarf fireweed.

Jorge sporting is bug-ninja suit.

I snagged this and the below photo from Alyeska Corporate Com. The state as a whole has had a banner year for mosquitoes, and the Interior and North Slope have a reputation as it is. I can attest, these photos are pretty accurate. I've never seen the bugs so bad.

This handful of mosquitoes was scooped from the intake of a pickup, which shut down while it was idling after the intake was that bad.
Day 4 we had clear weather for our drive across the flat and barren Slope to Deadhorse. We were hoping to see some wildlife but they must have all fled for the coast to get away from the bugs.

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