Prudhoe Bay Tour, a Final Disappointment, and the Journey Home Commences

Deadhorse Travel Blog

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Drill Site and Drill Equipment

So we woke up early on the last day of our trip and headed down for breakfast.  Another great all you can eat meal at the hotel/camp dining room.  Had to get up fairly early just to make the end of the scheduled breakfast time (4:30-7:30 AM).  Remember we were on the workcamp schedule and most of the crews had to begin there shifts between 5 and 7 AM.  After breakfast it was time for the field tour.

Let me preface by saying, if your desire to visit the northern reaches of Alaska is to see the oil fields and the Arctic Ocean, this definitely isn't the way to do it.  The only access north of Deadhorse is via the proscribed tour from the Arctic Caribour Inn.  Other than that all the roads further north are stationed at access points.

The Wellheads are situated in these small metal bulidings all around each drill site.
 

The tour started out with a short video (somewhat propogandish) about the oil industry on the north slopes.  It's somewhat difficult to infer the various impacts that they have in this area.  It appears that they do try to limit the impact they have on the environment but it's an intensive industry and the land is incredibly fragile up here.   And while they claim that everything is constructed temporarily, I don't forsee them tearing everything down when the oil is gone.  Another thing that was interesting was the Q&A session with the field employee after the video and during the tour.  I have never heard so many non-answers in my life.  And he carefully avoided any answer that had anything to do with the future, always framing his answers in the present tense.

Bill walks past some standing water along the Sag River
  Oh well, it was interesting to see and hear, but I recommend taking it with a jaundiced eye (I'm also sure that the opposite side (the environmentalists) also frame the debate exclusively to their side of the story).

After the video we boarded a bus to take us out to the oil fields.  Unfortunately due to the moving of one of the large oil rigs and a wandering polar bear (and a few other excuses that I forget) we were not going to be allowed to reach the dock for our chance to see and take a dip in the Arctic Ocean.  Instead we got a slightly longer drive to see some more buildings.  And as luck would have it we got to drive right by one of the pumping stations and get a close up look of the building (apparently the standard route doesn't actually get close to any of the buildings).

Leaving Deadhorse...
  And don't expect to get out and actually see anything.  The driver is not supposed to stop the van for any reason short of an emergency (other than at the dock that we weren't visiting).

After a 30-40 minute drive we returned back to the hotel.  Like I said, if this is your sole reason for visiting the end of America, I'd recommend spending more time in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, or elsewhere.  For myself it was an interesting end of the trip but definitely not the exclusive reason.  We packed up and checked out of the hotel and then headed over to one of the other camp/hotels for lunch.  A similar style buffet was available for the scattering of tourists and field workers here as well.

After lunch we took a short walk along the Sag River, visited the commisary/gift shop/post office, and then headed to the airport for our flight south to Anchorage.  We said our goodbyes to Jodi and Amy who would be driving the van back to Fairbanks (and it made it back without issue) and boarded our Alaska Airlines flight.  And thus commenced the journey home first traversing the length of this amazing state down to Anchorage for connections back to the continental US.

 

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Drill Site and Drill Equipment
Drill Site and Drill Equipment
The Wellheads are situated in thes…
The Wellheads are situated in the…
Bill walks past some standing wate…
Bill walks past some standing wat…
Leaving Deadhorse...
Leaving Deadhorse...
Pumping Station at Prudhoe Bay
Pumping Station at Prudhoe Bay
More Pipes and Buildings
More Pipes and Buildings
Pumps and pipes in Prudhoe Bay
Pumps and pipes in Prudhoe Bay
Wellheads on the Arctic Tundra
Wellheads on the Arctic Tundra
Specialized Trucks for driving on …
Specialized Trucks for driving on…
Arctic Caribou Inn
Arctic Caribou Inn
End of the Road
End of the Road
A lonely little piece of driftwood…
A lonely little piece of driftwoo…
Switching cameras so we could get …
Switching cameras so we could get…
Snapping photos along the Sag Rive…
Snapping photos along the Sag Riv…
A truck driving on the Haul Road t…
A truck driving on the Haul Road …
A final goodbye to the Dalton High…
A final goodbye to the Dalton Hig…
Boarding our Alaska Airlines  737-…
Boarding our Alaska Airlines 737…
Deadhorse
photo by: Kramerdude