Chasing Dogs to Discover and Share Stories of Changing Ice

6 March 2023

Our Fresh Eyes on Ice snowmachine traverse team (Sarah, Allen, and Chris) have had two years of experience planning and doing winter trips to visit schools and their communities with field science along the trail.

After following the Iron Dog to McGrath last year, we opted to follow real dogs (i.e. Iditarod sled dogs and mushers) this year out of McGrath and we’ll try to stick to that trail all the way up the Yukon River to Kaltag. Spending a few days with students in McGrath and then Shageluk will ensure we don’t follow too close and more importantly have time to work with our next generation of ice scientists (students) and learn from senior ice scientists (elders). Reaching Galena after ~450 miles on the trail in time for their Spring Carnival will be a wonderful welcome!

Our science plan is to visit key sites on the Kuskokwim, Takotna, Iditarod, Innoko, Yukon, and Koyukuk rivers to collect field data on late-freezing zones we IDed with November satellite imagery. Hopefully most of these spots and others will be well frozen by now, but whatever we come across we’ll approach with great caution and document what we see with cameras (drones and phones), ice corers, and under-ice sensors. Collecting ice samples to look at sediment will be a new and interesting aspect that came from discoveries we made on the Kuskokwim last year and the Tanana this winter. If you’re out traveling on the trail and our paths cross, let’s take a break and talk winter travel, snogos, and ice conditions while we roast some hotdogs over a trailside fire.

Please follow our journey through steep terrain, meandering rivers, and warm welcoming village on FacebookTwitterInstagram (when we have internet) or all the time on our Fresh Eyes Tracker (plus ask questions about the journey and we'll respond as we go)!