Monday, January 31, 2011

Local Gems

This past weekend was packed with fun ski outings just outside of Fairbanks. The winter trails in and around Fairbanks seem to be an endless resource that provide us with recreational opportunities, exercise, adventure, and nostalgia. On Sunday Ann, Luke and I skied from Cleary Summit to the Chatanika Lodge. The ten mile trip was a wonderfully relaxing; mostly down hill route.

None of us had taken this route before so there was a little map reading at a few of the trail intersections. We managed not to take any wrong turns.

Friday night Cassie and I headed about 30 miles out of town and skied into Nugget Creek Cabin. The temps were pretty reasonable for January in Fairbanks but the little cabin was still fairly difficult to warm up.

We enjoyed a late breakfast and a great ski out in the sunshine.

Cassie and Josie head down the South Fork of the Chena River.

Back at the truck we were all smiles. Another good weekend in The Great Land!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Open Heart Surgery

An oil spill responder heads into the basement to work on the cleanup.

One of Alaska's main arteries sprung a leak. The Trans Alaska Pipeline spans 800 miles from the North Slope to it's terminal in Valdez and it started leaking at mile 0. Pump Station #1 is the location where Alyeska Pipeline Service Company receives crude oil from North Slope producers including BP and Conoco Philips, it gathers the oil, then starts it on its way south. A small section of buried pipe at the booster pump building sprung a leak and the crude was found spilling into the buildings basement. Once the leak was identified the pipeline promptly shutdown which subsequently caused the North Slope oil fields to follow suit. With frigid arctic temperatures creating concerns over freeze-up Alyeska was able to restart the line for a short time while they collected the oil from the leak and fabricated a bypass line that would allow production to continue. The resources and personnel that were used during this response were very impressive and before long things should be back to normal and the artery that provides the lower 48 with energy and the state of Alaska with royalties should be operating at full capacity.

The pictures above show work being done on the bipass line.

This is just a random shot of a drill rig on an unidentified pad.