Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

325 miles up the Dalton Highway, Alaska

Posted at 5:45 pm, September 17th, 2002

Made it up to Deadhorse, the end of the Dalton Highway, but the only way I could find to get around the oil field security and get to the Arctic Ocean was to hike a twenty-five mile round-trip through marshy land in the cold and rain. Given the fact that I couldn’t feel my fingers after just two hours outside yesterday I decided that seeing the Arctic Ocean will have to be an experience for another trip.

Spent a good chunk of the afternoon in the midst of a herd of about fifty muskox. It’s apparently their rutting season, and I watched two of the beasts duking it out — what a sight! They shake their big heads from side-to-side menacingly at one another while backing up until they’re about eighty feet apart, then they charge full speed and smash heads, making a loud banging sound. The two I saw did this seven times before one was thrown off balance and the other one chased him off. Later on a big male was walking right towards me, apparently not seeing me, and not wanting to surprise him I stood up and starting backing away. It was only after a few seconds that I realized I was exactly duplicating the rutting behavior I’d witnessed earlier, but luckily this guy didn’t feel like butting heads. Another very memorable day.

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