Goodbye helicopter…. hello haul road!

On Tuesday, we took our last helicopter rides back to the mine after completing our reference plots. From now on, Elisa, Kali, and I will be accessing our plots via the haul road, where we will then park and hike in.

This las ride was a bittersweet moment.

Planning our days will be much easier without the helicopter. We no longer are concerned with the height of the clouds, the wind speeds, or visibility. Also, the amount of gear that we carry is reduced to half of its size. We get to stretch our legs and hike through the tundra.

On the flip side, Peter and our helicopter pilot have left us, so now it is just us three. We will no longer have the daily breath-taking aerial views of the Cape Krusenstern from the helicopter. The vegetation and lichens will likely be less diverse, and everything (including us) will be coated with a fine layer of dust from the road. Thank heavens that the mine camp has showers!

These less diverse plots will likely be quicker to complete. Our goal is to complete one group of plots, a “transect”, per day. Each transect consists of 5 to 6 plots. Weather permitting, we will likely be done with the work around August 1st.

Over and out,


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