Written by samepenny on 28 Dec, 2000
Many stories have been told by bold men and strong women, but the origin is in the mist. The leader in the 'why' contest seems to be that back during World War II when the airfield at what we now call Deadhorse was a…Read More
Many stories have been told by bold men and strong women, but the origin is in the mist. The leader in the 'why' contest seems to be that back during World War II when the airfield at what we now call Deadhorse was a military outpost, a deadhorse was an airplane that had been picked apart for spare parts and could fly no more.
There is no evidence that there ever was a live horse at Deadhorse, Alaska.
A long time ago there was a Deadhorse Salvage company in the area. Which came first.....
There actually is no real town a Deadhorse. All the facilities relate to the oil fields and the few visitors who wander up one way or another. On an organized tour or after driving the Dalton Highway. The airfield is suitable for jet aircraft which carry passengers and freight. It is however a disturbing landing for anyone who hasn't flown much in Alaska during all weather. During the winter months, the airfield looks little different from the tundra, sort of gray and wipped with snow. During high summer when the ice is 'out', the airfield is set back far enough from the water that you don't really feel that you are going to land on the beach.
Barges come in one or twice during the summer bringing heavy non-perishable freight to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. Each spring an actual dock made of ice is carved out so that the barges can unload. Everyone looks forward to the arrival of the barges. When the ice goes back 'out' the ice dock is gone.
One or two exploration class ships or ice breakers come by each year. Not exactly a cruise ship destination. Obviously tourist facilities are about nil.
Enjoy Deadhorse, but take it for what it is. A working persons town, totally no frills. Dry as a bone (read that 'no bars'. No where to go after work. All you can do up at Prudhoe Bay is work and earn money. You fly out to go elsewhere to party or build your new house. You don't bring the family and children as there are no houses, no schools, no facilities whatsoever.
When I stayed at NANA camp, there were dozens of men living there and a very few women. It didn't take me long to learn that the attitude of the men toward the woman was complete disinterest. Prudhoe Bay is dry, that is…Read More
When I stayed at NANA camp, there were dozens of men living there and a very few women. It didn't take me long to learn that the attitude of the men toward the woman was complete disinterest. Prudhoe Bay is dry, that is no alcohol allowed. I managed to get to know and chat with some men who did nearly daily flights to count whales, but by normal measure, the chats were ice cold.
I talked with other women at Prudhoe Bay about this and found that almost without exception, relationships between men and women at Prudhoe Bay are strickly business. Everyone seems to leave his/her social life down in Anchorage or Fairbanks.
SO it wasn't my lack of good looks that caused me to be without male company at Prudhoe Bay. No one bought me a drink because 1. there are no drinks to buy and 2. each had his mind on the work. I guess that I felt better knowing that.
It is now possible for anyone who desires to drive the old Haul Road from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, Alaska. Should you do it? Do you want to drive hundreds of miles on a narrow gravel road? Do you want to be passed…Read More
It is now possible for anyone who desires to drive the old Haul Road from Fairbanks to Deadhorse, Alaska. Should you do it? Do you want to drive hundreds of miles on a narrow gravel road? Do you want to be passed by speeding trucks that toss gravel on to your soon-to-be pitted windshield? Do you want to drive hundreds of miles with limited or no services? If you want to do all these things. Then drive the Dalton Highway.
The only logical reason to drive this road is to HAUL something to Prudhoe Bay. You can do it if you want to, but you have been warned. If you have a poor vehicle or a bad back, don't even consider doing it.
The Dalton Highway connects the Elliot Highway to Deadhorse, Alaska. It is 414 miles in length. Gravel, no or soft shoulders. (you are strongly advised to pull over with care as often the shoulders fall aways steeply.) The steepest grade is 12%, highwst summit is Atigun Pass at 4,800 feet. Kept open all year as the professional truck drivers have to get goods, food and materials to Prudhoe Bay. They practically fly up the road as they have all driven it many times. The 18 wheelers spray gravel which assaults windshields and car bodies. If you are driving too slow, they will pass you and you will be breathing dust. Not a nice experience. The MILEPOST says that road conditions vary from 'acceptable to rough'. You have to drive around road maintenance equiipment that has to operature during the summer i.e. construction season of the year.
Calcium chloride is used on the road to try to control dust. It is extremely corresive to vehicles and slippery when wet. Smaller vehicles are required by law to yield to larger commercial vehicles. This means that you absolutely have to pull over when a large vehicle is coming toward you or when one of those are trying to maintain speed to get up at 12 degree grade. If you don't, things could get very ugly.
There are a few service and food areas along the way, but they are very far apart. If you have a vehicle or medical problem along the way, help can be long in coming and very expensive.
The MILEPOST warns that flat tires are extremely common. If you ever needed the MILEPOST, this is it! Order your MILEPOST. the MILEPOST.
When you get to Prudhoe Bay, it won't be what you expect. My best description is that of a lunar landscape. Most of the year, locked in winter with temperatures at -50 degrees F. Everything that is man made has to take…Read More
When you get to Prudhoe Bay, it won't be what you expect. My best description is that of a lunar landscape. Most of the year, locked in winter with temperatures at -50 degrees F. Everything that is man made has to take that into consideration. Buildings are off the ground to protect the premafrost. Eight to ten steps go up to each building (generally in the pre-fab manner). Buildings are distinguished by color. In winter most trucks are never turned off as it is likely that they couldn't be restarted.
Every pre-caution has been made to protect the environment. If you don't like the idea of Prudhoe Bay, stop putting Alaskan gas in your car! Yes, I have an opinion! Brian Richardson, one of the best outdoor guides in Alaska, is working at Prudhoe Bay operating heavy equipment. The schedule of this job (2 weeks on, 2 weeks off) gives him time to guide. He is wild about living and working on the North Slope, often at -50 degrees F. I trust his word about how things are going up there. He is very positive on the goings on. The caribou and the bears are happy.
It is an extremely flat area. When I was there, I stayed at NANA camp and pretty much had a free run of the area. I found out very quickly that I had no sense of direction and couldn't tell north from south. A very curious and odd feeling. The sky and tundra are flat. When you get to the Arctic Ocean, it appears to be flat during the time when the pack ice is 'out'. I find it beautiful! My opinion. Take it for what it's worth.
If you want the truth about the pipeline, go see it for yourself. It's worth the trip!