You Call, We Haul

Kiana Travel Blog

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Late-night maintenance
 

I worked our first three nights until 3 or 4 a.m. under the midnight sun to perform a 300-hour inspection on the helicopter - the airframe two nights; engine, one. With the passing of summer solstice, arctic skies can become violent and spectacular but threatening weather drifted by to allow midnight maintenance at a casual pace. A cool breeze kept mosquitoes to a minimum. Each day, Gray was able to fly five or six sling-loads out to the expanding Omar site before his flight-time limit was approached (eight hours per day by the FAA regulations). Our machine flew strong and day by day Kiana Camp grew smaller.

 

The spacious kitchen tent was the heart of last year's five-star geology exploration camp. Now its gray wooden floor creaks and bounces without the weight of its white canvas, its heavy appliances and supplies, or the food and furnishings that filled it.

Last chance for a midnight snack
Once the kitchen came down, the four of us found ourselves suddenly engulfed by the desolate wilderness around us. A sense of urgency kicked in to get our mission completed and fly back to Colorado Creek, three hundred miles to the south, where food and shelter beckoned.

 

Just half way through the job, progress has been made but it seems the more loads that are airlifted out, the more are prepared. The disassembled camp lay scattered to await bundling into cargo nets. The oil-burning heaters, tent frames, plumbing, lumber, wiring, major appliances, furniture, and crates and coolers stuffed with camp and cooking gear all resemble a village yard sale.

 

The only structures remaining are two of the Weather-Port sleeper tents, the generator shed, and the two outhouses. Like so many of the old Alaska boom towns, Kiana Camp has lived its time of glory and is rapidly becoming a small piece of forgotten history - testament to modern man's ongoing, far-reaching search for precious metals. It's nice to be along for the ride.

 

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Late-night maintenance
Late-night maintenance
Last chance for a midnight snack
Last chance for a midnight snack
Alot to move
Alot to move
Like an arctic yard sale
Like an arctic yard sale
Hooked
Hooked
Making progress
Making progress
Gray stopping for a break
Gray stopping for a break
Another load
Another load
The wee hours
The wee hours
Kiana
photo by: rotorhead85