Travel Tips & Adventures

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Why Would Anyone Want to Go to Prudhoe Bay? – Friday Favorite?

By Guest Author Peggy Bradshaw
Photos by George Bradshaw

When I first got off of the airplane at Deadhorse, Alaska, I wanted to get right back on and fly away. It was 33 degrees and it was June 23, summer solstice, and the wind was blowing at least 30-40 miles an hour. We all climbed onto a tour bus (which was warm) and were taken to the motel where we would be staying, the Arctic Caribou Inn, while we experienced our unique visit to the oil fields of the North Slope of Alaska.

Summer thermometer reading in Deadhorse, Alaska

Summer thermometer reading in Deadhorse, Alaska

I can’t think of any way to describe the Arctic Caribou Inn. It is beyond quaint. It started out to be living quarters for the men working on the Alaskan pipeline and is now a motel, not only for the men, but for tourists as well. It also has a chow hall. It’s in the form of a buffet line, but that doesn’t come close to describing it. The food is served out of large metal pans in large oil-field-worker size portions, complete with salad and desert bar, and almost any kind of beverage you could want. There is no alcohol served around the oilfields. The dining area consists of a large room filled with tables and benches. The motel rooms are small, totally unique and, if you want to be pampered, I don’t recommend that you go there.

We rode several miles across the oilfields in an old school bus owned by one of the oil companies, crossing the treeless tundra that is the Northern Slope of Alaska. Then we arrived at the Arctic Ocean and climbed off the bus. Our intent was to dip a toe or a finger in the ocean just to say we had done it. The temperature was still in the thirties and the wind speed had increased to about 50 miles an hour, making it almost impossible to walk, or to breathe, for that matter. We buttoned our coats up to the neck and put on our hoods or stocking caps and ventured forth to accomplish our task at hand. For every step we took forward, we were blown back two! Our noses and cheeks felt like they were frost-bitten because the wind-chill factor was below zero!

Arctic Ocean with ice shelf in distance

Arctic Ocean with ice shelf in distance

We never did dip anything in the Arctic Ocean. It was hard enough to walk to the beach at the water’s edge. We gathered a few rocks as souvenirs. Our visit to Prudhoe Bay, Deadhorse and the Arctic Caribou Inn was probably the most outstanding adventure I have ever had, and, yes, I would go again in a heartbeat. Why would anyone want to go to Prudhoe Bay? To have the time of their lives is all.

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