The wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus (also known as Rana sylvatica), is –in my opinion– the climatological honey badger of North American frogs. That is to say, wood frog don’t give a shit. You want to throw some snow at a wood frog? Fine. Wood frog laughs at you and takes it. Wood frog don’t give a shit.
11:52 pm Alaska Daylight Time (416.8 miles). Alas, here we are. The end of Day 01 for the Alaska-to-Florida trip. Only 17 more days to go… Oh my…
So, I found a camping spot just east of North Pole. I can’t believe I just said that: “North Pole”. I’m camping in the Chena Lakes Recreation Area. My tent is set up next to Chena River and its shoreline-forest — a narrow but thick swath of thick forest land. It’s a surprisingly awesome campsite, actually. Coming in, I wasn’t expecting much. Just needed and wanted to stop so I can double-track back to North Pole in the morning. I’ve just *got* to get Kid A something from North Pole, Alaska. Heh. Chena Lakes just happened to be in the right place.
So I set up camp in no time. Mosquitos are out in force, but manageable. There’s a nearly constant call-response game going on in the trees with some kind of bird. No idea what kind of bird they are, but their sounds are quite lovely and unearthly. I also found a wood frog, Rana sylvatica (aka Lithobates sylvaticus), next to my campsite just after arriving. You know it’s a good sign for the trip when you find a frog in the interior of Alaska on Day One. I managed to catch the slippery little devil and get a handful of shots. Nothing fancy, just some nice identification photos.
And on that note, PHOTOS. My god, I’ve shot a ton already. Later tonight I’ll go through and whittle them down — delete the duplicates and those that clearly didn’t work out . . . But it’s still too much to try to “live blog” them all on Dust Tracks, despite the temptation to cover everything. I think I’ll stick to what I’ve been doing today — mainly just posting a representation of each major stop. I’ll probably hold back on many of the animal photos until later, when I’m not too slammed.
UPDATE FROM SUMMER 2012: These posts were later revised to include higher resolution images. I’ve also added some photographs, in addition to reformatting the original photos as they were initially presented.
Do note that tomorrow I’ll slide into the Yukon Territory and there’ll be a massively diminished update-cycle on the blog. Internet coverage *and* data roaming are terrible, terrible, terrible in northern Canada. I’ll have the ability to connect in places via 3G, but not too much or too often — otherwise it’ll cost an arm and a leg. Hopefully I’ll find some wifi hotspots along the way? I’ll keep writing the posts in real-time, regardless of connection, and then when I do get a good connection, they’ll batch up onto the blog, one after the other, like good little data soldiers. So, yeah, there’ll be some serious gaps and delays on the blog punctuated with brief windows of intense activity. Not ideal, but hey — it’s the best I’ve got.
Alright, to work. And then sleep. And then? Back to the North Pole. And then? East, east, east… Tomorrow we jump on the ALASKA HIGHWAY, baby, and make our way into the Yukon Territory.
ALSO: Major thanks to friends, family and readers for commenting on the blog and sending me messages via Twitter and Email. It’s great to hear from you and I’m sorry I’m not replying immediately. I’m trying to keep the typing/blogging stuff streamlined so I don’t burn out on the road. Please don’t think I’m being deliberately rude!!!