Skip to content

Toolik Lake

August 25, 2011

Our story so far: Doug is tired, exhausted, a meal on wheels for mosquitos, and walking up the steeper hills he encounters.  A construction worker told him to check the mailbox at Toolik Lake; treats are often left there for bikers.   He meets three researchers and camps with them.   And we continue:

Mike, Scott and Rosella left camp before me.  It took a while for me to pack my tent, take care of personal business, and get on my way.  I didn’t know where they were headed, so when I saw their SUV a few miles later, I was happy.  I left them a message by writing in the dirt covering the rear window.

About a mile after that I saw Toolik Lake.  Toolik Lake is a climate change research center set-up in 1975  by University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Seeing it was a shoot of adrenaline in my arm; I am ecstatic!  I ride as fast as I can.  For me it was a major milestone.

When I got to the mailbox I was surprised by what I found.  There were some treats; a few candy bars, suckers and water,  but there was also a note addressed to “Ohio Biker”.  If you’ve been paying attention, you know that is me.

It said:  “If you need a place to stay in Fairbanks my couch is available.”  There was a name, address, phone number and hand drawn map included.  Alaskans are friendly folk!  (Upon return, I call and chat the notes signer, Stan.  He found out about me from Richard and Mary.)

So I took another break and after half an hour pushed off again.  The road was chip seal and not too bad, but I was just shot.  I rode two miles and took a break.  Rode another two miles and took another break.  (Long-time readers may recognize this pattern, see July 12, 2010 entry.  Note that is 2010, not 2011!)

So now I’m about four miles from Toolik, almost to Galbraith Lake.  Up ahead is a large orange caution sign, warning that there are men working ahead.  I’m wearing my orange Davis Phinney (see “Donate now”) jersey and I sit down in the signs shade, taking in the view.  I imagine I blend in with the sign.

Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop.  I hear this in the back round, but it  does not register; I am too tired. Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop. Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop!  The sound forces my awareness.  I look over my right shoulder: There is a large bull caribou coming down the road.  My turning motion makes him aware of me; the two of us think the same thing: “Where the heck did he come from!!!”  He rears up, does a 180, and trots away, clip-clops fading into the distance.  I laugh to myself.

Eventually I make it a little past Galbraith Lake, and set-up camp in a quarry.  I am dragging; I have only riden about 30 miles today.  A man and women come by and offer to give me a ride 90 miles to Coldfoot.  Regretfully, I decline, but ask them to contact my friend Barb and tell her I’m ok.  They agree to do so.


From → Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Joy Bahniuk permalink

    Keep writing!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: