A New Start

A New Start

At long last, we’ve arrived in Alaska! Our weary crew has assembled from all parts of the globe (okay, several stateside locations) to study the threespine stickleback.

The flight into Anchorage from Seattle is beautiful, especially because sun was still high in the sky at 10:30 pm. The first night here, the sun set around 1 a.m. and rose shortly thereafter at 4, which defies all of my previous knowledge of time but works in our favor in the summer. As we travel throughout Alaska visiting lakes and streams, we will climb into the water to observe our three spined friends in their natural environments and collect some of them to send back to the lab

Our first day was dedicated to preparation. The first stop in this endeavor was our storage unit about an hour outside of Anchorage. While this may not sound like a particularly romantic adventure, it seems that every drive in Alaska is a scenic drive. Here’s a shot of Lake Wasilla from the drive up:

Lake Wasilla and the Chugach Mountains in the background

Lake Wasilla and the Chugach Mountains in the background

John and Melissa, accomplished packers

John and Melissa, accomplished packers

After discovering some curiously labeled objects in the storage unit (i.e. dry suits from the 1800s) we packed up the car with fish traps, coolers, and petri dishes, performed some Tetris magic to make it all fit, and headed back to Anchorage.

But we pulled over to make take an impromptu peek at some stickleback superstars. Rabbit Slough is home to one of the most famous stickleback populations. Melissa and I got to see our first proof that sticklebacks do NOT solely exist in Clark’s labs and classrooms.

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Melissa holds back tears at the classic Rabbit Slough

 

Though we weren’t our busiest, I was able to better visualize the next two weeks in Alaska and all the trapping, wading, planning, photographing, driving, and scenery-appreciating they will involve. And what better place to do so than in sunny Alaska?

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