Arctic Tales from Top of the World

The Alaska North Slope is the region of the U.S. state of Alaska located on the northern slope of the Brooks Range along the coast of two marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean, the Chukchi Sea being on the western side of Point Barrow, and the Beaufort Sea on the eastern. The region contains the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, with the bulk of Alaska’s known petroleum until the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field was discovered in 1968, followed by the Kuparuk River oil field in 1969. The region also includes the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which itself has been the subject of controversy surrounding the possibility of petroleum drilling within its boundaries. The petroleum extracted from the region is transferred south by means of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System to Valdez on the Pacific Ocean. Under the North Slope is an ancient seabed – the source of the oil. Within the North Slope, there is geological feature called the Barrow Arch – a belt of the kind of rock known to be able to serve as a trap for oil. It runs from the city of Barrow to a point just west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Arctic Alaska Petroleum Province, encompassing all the lands and adjacent Continental Shelf areas north of the Brooks Range-Herald arch were estimated by the USGS in 2005 to hold more than 50 billion bbl. of oil and natural-gas liquids and 227 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The Brooks Range (Athabascan, Gwazhał) is a mountain range in far northern North America stretching some 1100 km (700 mi) from west to east across northern Alaska  into Canada’s Yukon Territory. Reaching an elevation exceeding 2,700 m (9,000 ft.), the range is believed to be approximately 126 million years old.

In the United States, these mountains are considered an extension of the Rocky Mountains, whereas in Canada they are considered separate, the northern border of the Rocky Mountains regarded as the Liard River far to the south in the province of British Columbia.

While the range is mostly uninhabited, the Dalton Highway and Trans-Alaska Pipeline System run through the Atigun Pass (1,415 m, 4,643 ft) on their way to the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope.

Deadhorse is an unincorporated community in North Slope Borough, Alaska, United States, along the North Slope near the Arctic Ocean. The town consists mainly of facilities for the workers and companies that operate at the nearby Prudhoe Bay oil fields. Deadhorse is accessible via the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks, 495 mi (797 km) south, or Deadhorse Airport. Limited accommodations are also available for tourists.

The permanent population is variously listed as being between 25 and 50 residents. Temporary residents (employed by various firms with local interests) can range as high as 3,000.

Companies with facilities in Deadhorse service Prudhoe Bay, nearby oil fields, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which brings oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez on the south-central Alaska coast. Facilities in Deadhorse are built entirely on man-made gravel pads and usually consist of pre-fabricated modules shipped to Deadhorse via barge or air cargo.

The night before I was to head up to the Northslope I thought I would go to the strip club known as the Alaskan Bush Co. since I didn’t want to have to drive in at 4 am. After a night of reveling there, spending all my money and smelling of cheap perfume I walked to the Ted Stevens International Airport where I fell asleep on one of those uncomfortable bench seats, only to awake with Security personnel hovering over me yelling to get up: only it wasn’t me they were yelling at, but some whino who was sleeping under me like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I sat up looking just as perplexed as the “Snatcher” and was like….. ” WTF?!  When he (whino) went on w/ the Security about not being able to remember his birthdate or SS# I thought I would suggest that it was inevitable that they we’re going to find out who he was through fingerprinting and retinal scans since I knew this from past experiences. The Cops and the Whino both stared at me as I gathered my gear and told him to just “Man Up” and take care of his shit so they won’t have a reason to fuck with him next time. He rummaged about this for a moment then came clean as I walked towards the Security checkpoint to get on board. At least it wasn’t me getting jammed up’d, this time and I’m not missing my plane to Deadhorse!

Most people know of this of this place based on the movie called “The Grey”, which is about a oil company employed wolf killer,(no need in real world) whose plane goes down in the Arctic, whereas the remaining survivors are one by one picked off and devoured by these huge werewolf looking creatures. Before they all meet their demise they lay over in a fictional place based on Deadhorse but nothing could be further from the truth since in the movie it has a scene at a local bar, where knife fights break out, men break beer bottles over each others head & pummel to a pulp as half naked women are dancing on the table tops soon to be having cocaine snorted off their tits. In reality there is no alcohol allowed in the Borough and no bars exist, and probably for good reasons. Maybe back in the 70’s from the stories I heard, there might have been a murder or two, rampant drug and alcohol abuse with an occasional overdose and Yes, a lot of Men made money up there, but a lot more women took it home. Besides, it would be hard to find some hot ass chick to indulge in these activities if you could find one at all that even looked remotely like the ones in the movie. Most of them are sort of Butch- type, if you get my drift and they don’t take no shit, especially from some pig face man. Makes for a good movie though. It is a stark place of the Industrial nature, a scar belching pollution for miles around and a blight upon the North Slope which oozes oil like syrup and money like water.  If one positive thing can be said about it, it is that with all the pollution it adds to the already breathtaking Sunsets. Another curious note here is that it touts itself as a Great employer of Alaskan’s, yet hardly any Native Alaskans can be found at all except for those who live in somewhat nearby villages and need help from time to time. The contractors will happily give them some gas and snacks and send them on their way feeling all the better for it and boasting of their contributions to the locals in their business quarterly.

 I have just stepped off a Dash 8-100  twin turbo propped airplane.

 I am uncertain if this is my final destination, since having enlisted in the Special Ed Forces of the Northslope I am to know nothing of my place of work or what I will be doing. I have been briefed as to not say a single word of this mission to anyone due to the delicate nature. In fact they have given me a card to keep in my wallet as what to tell the media if I we’re to be approached. The great thing about a charter plane is that we don’t have to go through security checks as one would on a commercial flight so some things that would be discouraged on those flights can be brought in, as long as it’s not a fully automatic weapon, Semi’ are fine. As you walk from the runway onto the plane the baggage handlers remind you to stay away from the still moving propeller as the stewardess hands you a pair of earplugs rather than ear buds for entertainment, as that will be included in just the take off itself. The Dash-8 is a sturdy work horse much larger that a Twin Otter, with a shit load more horsepower, it weaves in and out of the larger planes pathway like a nimble skater. Once it has clearing for take off it escapes the Talons of Gravity at what seems at least a 45 degree angle. It is 624 air miles to Deadhorse from Anchorage, we have to stop off in Fairbanks to pick up a few more bewildered workers, then continue North. The stewardess informs the fat guys up from that  they have to go to the rear of the plane so we can get off and with a few grumblings they go to the back whereas she thanks them for “Manning Up” then sooth’s their wounds with home baked cookies and coffee. When we land in Deadhorse where I change aircraft and get de-briefed on my final destination and expectations.  I am going to be on the Northslopes newest oil production project near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge thus all the secrecy, that’s all I can say at this point as it is still a very hush job. But I can tell you even though I may be employed by the Devil, I will do my very best to keep him in check with Environmental Policies set forth by not only by local agencies but State and Federal as well. I do struggle with it though at times but at least I get comfort knowing I’m trying to do the right thing up here.

I transfer to a EC-145 helicopter which slowly lifted from above the frozen tundra within a crystalized cloud, pitching leeward above the expanse. The HELO runs above an extension of the Alaskan Pipeline alongside the Beaufort Sea to the North, as a guide of sorts since the clouds lay low and ominous. The weather has calmed down enough to allow the one and only passenger on board to be transported to the remote camp he would be calling home for the next seven month’s. The Sun was setting low in the horizon with the contours of the Tusek and frozen rivers braiding their way to the Beaufort Sea. There is no sign of Life as far as the eye can see except for the long expanse of the Pipeline and occasional Drill Rig’s silhouette, standing like a lone chess piece among the frozen playing field of black and white. Typically the bird would be laden with cargo yet on this day it only had the Environmental Spill Technician along with four cases of Sariachua, Tapitio and Sweet and Sour hot sauces, that he would need in order to endure the camp’s cooking. To the South the silhouette of  the Brooks Range stands out against the fiery backdrop of the Sun that has yet to break over the horizon until mid January.

The word Northslope, is no exaggeration as it is truly where the land mass beyond the furthest Northern mountain range: The Brooks, which gently erodes into the Great Expanse of the Beaufort Sea meshing into the Arctic Ocean. One cannot tell the difference between where the land ends and the Ocean begins since the world at this latitude is now encased within ice as far as one can see.

The camp I now reside in has 22 people. one cook, one housekeeper, one camp manager, one safety guy and myself: the despised environmentalist. The rest are all made up of people who run heavy equipment or drive haul trucks out on the Ice Road. Today is rather mild @ -45 below zero Fahrenheit. This is Men’s town where morning conversations consist of Manly jargon such as who fucked the hottest gal the hardest or how many times, (in a small period albeit). Then it usually goes into  who killed what and of course it being the biggest of it’s Species, which can go on & on with no end in sight. That is until someone mentions what latest Harley they have because- JAP bikes are irrelevant here in Men’s Town, U.S. Fuckin’ A. Everyone seems content swinging their dicks around with bravado with newcomers tripping all over them in wide eye astonishment. This is nothing new to me, even though their Cocks apparently, folded over and zip tied to their ankles. Here,… Manly Men have been known to punch holes through urinals with only the pressure of their piss stream.

 For all intended purposes I am on the frigon Moon. I believe I can be a candidate for the first exploration to Mars since it has many similarities like remoteness and severe weather/climate, not to mention: something lurking around outside that can devour a human being. Recent FLIR( FORWARD LOOKING INFRA-RED) readings have shown numerous dens around this camp so one must stay alert.

Man Camp is like working in a minimum security prison so I feel right @ home here, like I was a trustee. The bear guard doors are unlocked so if you want to leave you can, but there’s no where to go with only ice and snow for miles on end. The meals are @ a set time and this is the epicenter of the camp. There are two phones available to use for everyone in camp since cell phones don’t work out there. This usually ends up in a verbal confrontation on who’s turn it is. there is no Interweb here as well, so I am happy.

When working on the Northslope everything is Top Secret. If anyone actually knew what was going on up here they would have to commit Hari-Kari with a blunt petrified Walrus tusk since doing it with a fresh one would violate State and Federal Laws and I wouldn’t want to do the paperwork anyhow. Cold is irrelevant up here and does not affect the typical “Sloper” who has snot-cycles hanging from his nose like frozen waterfalls. There you will hear rumor of people who have experienced permafrost in -65 below zero weather whereas they simply snap off body parts to make jewelry. So the powers that be have come up with different Phase Conditions to help inform people of dangerous conditions. Example:

Phase I: Visibility 500′ or less, foot traffic between camps use extreme caution. Drifting snow.

Phase II: Visibility of 250′, foot traffic must use “Buddy System” Heavy drifting, ice blows. Vehicle traffic must convoy.

Phase III: Visibility 100′ No foot traffic, report location once in safe haven, Snowdrifts are impassable, road closures and vehicle escort w/ heavy equipment.

Then there is the temperature variations as well to contend with. The equation is:

Wind Chill (F) = 35.74 + 0.6215T – 35.75(V 0.16) + 0.4275T (V 0.16)

Example:

If the Ambient temperature is -24. 8 degrees and the wind is moving at 16.2 mph. the Wind Chill Factor will be – 52.1

The Frostbite time is well within 5 minutes. No Joke.

As stated it’s a small camp so some people started bitching about the lack of amenities such as a work out room and a smoke shack. The first week they got a smoke shack so people would quit throwing their cigarette butts all over the Tundra for birds to gather and nest with, then the smokers all complained that it was to far away from the camp, so they had to move it a few times. Then when work out trailer came no one used it until this hot ass little equipment operator came along and started working out in her little tank top and booty shorts, then it was standing room only. She was so fucking hot with dark skin and green eyes with more curves than the Autobahn that would just melt a human male between to ages of six and sixty. Guys and a few Butch’s were coming in there trying to get the best seat behind the stationary bicycle or sweating out their sexual frustrations in a flurry of repetitions only matched by males all tweaked out on E at a Rave show. They would wreck themselves on the weights or treadmill in order to try and prove to her (or themselves) they were worthy of her love/lust, only to wake up so sore the next day that they could barely get out of bed. Having women in camp is two fold, one it can make for a very relaxing atmosphere when its an older lady that’s like a camp Mom or extremely uncomfortable when its a hotass chick that’s using her sexuality in order to get things she wants and makes the guys all want to be Alpha male. Case in Point: We had a nice baker gal who was great to look at but crazy as a loon and soon found her head bouncing off a few of the guys bunk walls. Soon they we’re all flexing and puffing up around her, confronting one another like a Bull Sea lion’s on a Beach. That is until she realized she was baking a bun of her own, as far as the Dad is concerned- it has been determined that five guys had the pleasure of doing her and none willing to admit their the father. Our camp Manager is going around now with a picture of the baby trying to find out who is the father by holding it up to all males coming into the chow line.

There is no shortage of drama so I like to get the hell out of camp. I stay in shape by chipping ice, chasing oil drip/drops, wrestling rabid wolverines or by putting out the occasional Narwhals that are on fire as the media would believe. I never use the “B” word (Bear) after the fiasco we had last year when a new “Bear Guard” spotted one that had washed up on shore with a cub and a gunshot. I had been there for a few month’s and had only spotted one in that whole time. He, apparently being trained to look for one had spotted five in one night. I think he was just so bored and anxious to actually see one, along with not blinking for a few minutes while staring into the white expanse of the Arctic that his mind was playing tricks on him. but it stirred up a hornets nest as the EPA found out and damn near shut the project down. Some said that there were some Government Contractors dismantling a Cold War Era Radar tower that shot the Sow. That would periodically wash up from shore to shore, coincidently seen by the one in the same Bear guard. just for shit and giggles they put out a cardboard cutout of a bear to see how long it would take for anyone to notice and shut down the project, from what I understand it got snowed in and were unable to locate it. I will be going on R&R here soon as I’m on a 2 & 2 rotation, I cant wait to go somewhere warm: Anything above Zero would be nice.

It would seem that our Camp Cook has gone MIA in Mexico during his time off. He did mention to me when we last spoke that the Cartel was looking for him and if he should ever return to his small village, Exterminito. Our other camp cook got fired for throwing a piece of cheese on one of the Big Wigs plate from across the kitchen when he requested a cheeseburger. We now have this crazy fucker who recently got his culinary degree in the Alaskan State Penitentiary and has been known to pass out during meal prep due to all the Meds he’s on. Our tried & trusty housekeeper though has to usually finish cooking which would be nice but she burns stuff a lot. I’m beginning to feel like the Northslope Maytag man up here since their hasn’t been a spill yet but I stay busy picking up these Godamned cigarette butts and scraping frozen chewing tobacco off ice road. In fact I cant get these fucking truckers out of their trucks to throw down their duck ponds but they can sure piss near their trucks which they are not supposed to do on the Tundra since it attracts all kinds of wildlife. There are frozen piss stalagmites everywhere on the camp pad even though there are toilets on premise. They will sit there (in their trucks) and argue with me about it being the Fox or Bears but I know it’s them due to the fact I doubt if any of these creatures can spell their name in the snow. I’m always getting on their ass, so they bitch and moan about me, calling me the “Fuckin’ New Guy”. So I wrote in big black letters “FNG” on my hardhat. It seems I’m the new sheriff in town since there wasn’t anybody out here enforcing the Standard Operating Procedures until I got here and they are not happy. I seen this pickup truck parked on the Ice Road without a duck pond under it to catch any drip/drops so I went to go and put one under it and found the Supervisor with his 1st mate all reclined back together, Don’t Ask! It was a very uncomfortable place to be in. Ever since then they both got it out for me but I could give a fuck and make it a point to jam them up on a regular basis.

I got a new 2015 GMC pickup truck to inspect the Ice Road and on it’s first maiden voyage, the fuel pump froze solid. I was stuck out in -35 below weather for a few hours until help arrived. That’s why you always carry your Arctic gear. Let me explain a little of what that entails. The whole idea is to layer up which I learned from hitchhiking across the Nation back in my snowboarding days. First there are your Polypropylene underwear, wool socks, long sleeve sweater, work cloth’s, wool knit cap, hoodie, glove liners, thick refriderwear work gloves and over the top, thick Arctic gear bib overalls and a Arctic overcoat. The hardhat usually has a warm headliner and your wearing a baklava with a defog face shield so you don’t freeze your goggles as it’s too cold to breath in the air. try working in all of this. I have come up with a term called ” froasting” it’s where you are freezing and roasting at the same time. God forbid that you have waited to long to have to piss, since by the time that you get through all of this gear to reach your Penis, as soon as it feels the temperature, goes into defensive “turtle” mode, which usually makes for a interesting situation.

Anyhow I was broke down on top of a knoll where the ice road truckers could not see me and one big old belly tanker came rippin’ up the road with a full load of water to throw down on the ice when she came over the brink there I was stranded, she locked em’ up and laid on her horn, I thought I was dead, but she was able to go around. About a week later I was doing the rounds out on some remote pads when this little firecracker of a Latin woman started tearin’ into my ass about that situation. I told her that it wasn’t my fault but she paid no never mind and made it a point to let the whole project know about it. I was sort of pissed at first until I realized she was simply attracted to me and it was a love/hate thing from then on out. I just let it ride as I figured she would make her move anytime soon. About a month later she was fired for maintaining a personal relationship with her immediate Supervisor in some extracurricular roadside chats,….. I don’t see the problem and miss her ass chewing’s dearly.

We got a Native representative attached to our Environmental team to encourage the relationship between Big Oil and Little Natives. She has it out for anybody that is Non-Native and here’s the kicker: She’s half white and looks like Rosie O’Donnell. We were having a health speech at camp about proper diet and right below the big screen explain the four food groups, there She sat stuffing bacon, biscuits and gravy and a healthy dose load of Dr. Pepper to top it off. She was hard to deal with since being the Native representative for the State she couldn’t be fired or reprimanded in any was so she routinely violated people verbally and physically. We were out working chipping up some oil drip drops on the ice road when she came driving up and I was waving her down to help out. She rolled down her window barely coming to a halt when this hockey puck looking thing shot passed us all and went on down the ice road seemingly without end into the horizon.

 I was like:

 ” WTF? was that?….”

She was like:

“My Ice Cream Sandwich”.

 And tore off after it never to be seen again that week. In fact we never seen her again since going on R&R she caught herself on fire in a what I can only imagine as a 5 pound bacon cooking ceremony gone bad.

We had a guy who recently set the shortest employment record at 1.5 day. I knew within the first five minutes of meeting him that he wouldn’t last long. As soon as he arrived at camp he was complaining about the lack of information or training from the Anchorage office. He latched onto me throughout the first part of the day, bitching the whole while until I threw him on the D-1 (shovel) and commenced to show him how to operate it since he obviously had never used one. We dug into snow berms and drifts at a blistering pace and it wasn’t long before he realized that you should start out cold and then work into warmth since he had every bit of Arctic gear on available.  He was soon sweating his ass off and couldn’t see shit since his safety glasses would keep fogging up on him which I kept reminding him he had to keep on due to safety reasons, yeah I know. After digging into some hard pack I could see that he had reached the end of his work load as the shovel was now just ricocheting off the snow, so I pawned him off onto one of my leads who overwhelmed him with insignificant bullshit he wouldn’t need but kept him quiet. That night when he returned to his room, totally spent where he called the Anchorage office to request a transfer as he was under the impression that he would be doing office work with some manual labor. He came into the compound the next day where I stripped him of every bit of Arctic gear  he owned and sent him packing.

I seen a band of Musk Ox today just standing out in the middle of a frigon storm with their young. They will stand in a circle, their shaggy coats blowing in the onset, seemingly content with the weather. The black silhouette of the Brooks Range holds back the Sun. I got back to camp during what I could only call a vendetta against the corporation for it would seem someone used the old flood em’ technique of San Quinton. Whereas a heavy terry cloth towel was stuffed down the toilet and then repeatedly flushed to cause a flood of catastrophic proportions. The camp manager was furious as were the night people who were trying to sleep during this time. Speaking of shitter mishaps:

In a remote camp all the water has to be brought in by Rollagon which is a huge piece of heavy equipment that would be right at home in Star Wars since it has articulating arms that hold these enormous inflatable tires that can stay afloat the snow covered terrain. Usually they are laden with 1500 gallon tanks of water with another that has an empty tank to unload human waste. During this time there was a new operator who was known to make a mess of things by simply not doing things right. There was always supposed to be at least one person to assist/observe the hookup/discharge/offload, but he always seemed to come in the wee hours of the night when the camp manager was sleeping. That was such the case when the afore mentioned mngr. was aroused by the rumbling of something from the water waste trailer and when he went to inspect found that the 1,000 gallon tank of human waste was bubbling into a frenzy because the operator started offloading into the tank instead of sucking it out. If not for the quick thinking action of the camp manager it would have been a shitty situation. Needless to say, the operator only got a small ass chewing and the following week he blew of the stainless steel walls of a vat holding all the shit for the truckers on the ice road at Mile 0. I’m glad I was off on R&R for that one.

Blowing snow moves across the ice road like a thousand ice sidewinders, weaving to & fro in and out of my dreams of this time up on the top of the world when I’m back home. It gets into your subconscious and pulls you deeper into some unknown realm. There are two Ravens at camp I call Heckle and Jekyll, I suggested putting them on the payroll since they pick up a lot of plastic to weave into the nest they have been building, sad but true. An Arctic Owl almost hit my truck trying to grab a rodent and disappeared into the whiteness. They are a hardy species for sure and the only birds that stick it out during winter. The Huge Moon drips lazily with a deep orange color just West of camp at 10:20 pm then rises within a few hours at 1:30 am just East, in a display of hot fuchsia pinks, a blooming rose unfolding yellow tangerine gracefully, slowly into the chase after the Sun. Sometimes when it is in the horizon it distorts it’s shape like an egg and one time like a skull with a beam of light beneath it. So strange…….

I’m out on the road when I spot a lone Caribou making its way down the road all by itself. it looked young and alone and I wondered how this came to be, as I was thinking this- I seen some movement off in the distance with a rather peculiar gate, somewhat of a lope. I couldn’t believe when I realized it was the tenacious Wolverine tracking the caribou down. they are known for their ferocity and unwavering desire to take down animals much larger than themselves and my heart went out to that lone ungulate which already showed signs of stress being stalked into the never-ending loneliness.

One month after Winter Solstice where the Earth begins to tilt back towards the Sun, the days are noticeably longer with each one a radiant gift. The colors seem so much more vibrant and nothing in between to block the view as only the limitations of ones vision to do so. Whiteness of snow is only disrupted with a thin Magenta line into Bright Blue and deep Purple of Space. Probally one of the strangest celestial phenomenon I seen was a Sun Halo that cris- crossed itself like a atom in the sky, with each intersection of light there was a small rainbow that could only be seen if you looked away from it, like a spectral prism. I felt so damn small like Horton hears a Who. It was a very poignant moment I really cannot explain but felt blessed to be there and another to recognize it as everyone else on the Ice Road was driving to and fro with no concern. When I’m out here all alone and the cold is unbearable, time stands still. I hear whispers reverberate through the landscape that I swear I can stare of to infinity at times and I see things out there in the distance that look like some type of Ancient crystal city from an Age gone by- SUREAL.

It is starting to warm up now with the white sparrow like Snow Buntings flirting around which are one of the first indicators Spring is finally on it’s way. I have had some pretty exciting experiences getting to and fro to work but this time I came out on a landing craft via the Beafort Sea since it broke up last month. It was a sight to behold looking back towards the project falling further away into the distance then coming up to a remote outcropping where the boat barely could stay in one spot due to the rough Sea. With a clang front door slams down whereas I then run out into the tundra with my gear like the frigon Marines, only I was the only person around for miles as the boat pulled away and I was left there alone. Once again there is no way to explain the feeling you get when you have no idea what to expect. It was so damn quiet it hurt. It is always something new and adventurous coming up here and I cant wait to see what is next except for maybe a hungry bear coming up over that knoll ahead of me. I could hear a vehicle coming towards me and there in the distance as it came lumbering to retrieve me and take me back to camp.

Once there, I noticed one of the Arctic Foxes had her litter of kits under my equipment Conx but I didn’t mind as they were so adorable and very entertaining. We had to put out a huge laydown area for a containment and when the kits found they had no traction on the surface chasing each other, it was a riot watching them go head over heels headlong into one another. I laughed my ass off so hard, a dear memory to this day. This is where I learned that Red Fox kits are red from birth but Arctic Fox kits are cream colored with dark stripes down their back. The Mother fox spent every waking hour hunting Parkers Squirrels for them and they grew fast but one in particular stood out. It was only a matter of time why we found out why he was growing so much faster than the rest. As the few remaining siblings he would be playing with one moment then devour it the next. Head, feet, fur and all, brutal. We named him Snax and he ultimately ate three of his siblings, in the end his own Mother would not approach him. Is it evil, I wondered? I don’t think so, that’s Life up in the Arctic, only the strong survive,… plain and simple.

A trucker brought in a Caribou Antler and wanted to give it to our Native camp housekeeper, you would have thought he had a frigon weapon of mass destruction with all the BS it stirred up with the EPA. I ultimately had to take it back out on the Tundra. The housekeeper told me she cried for that Caribou. One of my leads nearly sunk a airboat when he punched it full throttle off land and continued to go into

“Dive” mode when it hit the water, he came up sputtering screaming for help, I just laughed at his dumbass wondering how long before he just let off the throttle.

I needed a bear guard to keep post as I was out working alone in known bear habitat. I was about a mile out when something white off in the distance caught my eye and even though I romanticize about getting eaten by a bear vs. dying of boredom or old age. (Besides. I didn’t want to go at this time as I still need to write this damn book). I couldn’t focus on its distance but I knew I couldn’t out run it, so I called over the radio to the bear gaurd who was most likely watching a movie on his laptop.

“Yo! WTF is that white thing N-W,..over.” I stressed.

 He came back:

“Something White,…over”.

“Thanks Asshole,……….over”

I picked up the pace then to realize once I got a better view that it was two Sand hill Cranes doing their mating dance. I didn’t realize how big they were and it was a blessing to witness this beautiful courtship, jumping around and entwining each other necks, it was just fuckin’ awesome.

We have all kinds of weird ass vehicles up here that seems like a Sci-Fi movie at times. They are of many sizes and makes with everything in between.  I like to get out on these since I know one of the Supervisor’s pretty good and have been known to do some Moonlight work on the ice road for them. Why not? Once you’ve operated one type of tracked vehicle their pretty much all the same. I was able to get out into some hairball shit, just what the Dr. ordered.

I am what you call “expendable” on this project so I might as well have a good time doing it. Most people are up here just for the money, I can honestly say that’s nice,… but I do it for the experience.

I believe I have rubbed some worthless ass kissing back stabbing brown noser’s the wrong way and my days are limited here, but I could really care less as I was beginning to wonder what’s on the other side of the world, Down Under.

One thing I know for sure is that Life is to short to chase the dollar because you will chase it forever and NEVER have enough. And I really Wannabe on a Sailboat…………

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