Okay, note to self; check batteries in cameras before heading out in the field when it is this cold!

    Had a very interesting day. We are in Fairbanks right at the time that the winners of the  Yukon Quest 1000 Mile International Sled Dog Race cross the finish line a couple of blocks from where we are doing our training. According to the office race webpage (http://www.yukonquest.com) its name from the "highway of the north," the Yukon River, which was a historic winter land routes followed by prospectors, adventurers and later mail and supply carriers. It was a crucial link between Gold Miners in Klondike and those who worked the gold fields in the interior of the state. I was able to watch the first and second place teams cross the finish line. Got some good shots of the dogs. I was loaned a camera lens that allowed me to get some closer shots of the dogs in the Winners Circle.

    Crossing the Finish Line


    Bearded Sled Dogs????

    Later we went up to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station. They are working with Musk Ox, Caribou, and Reindeer. This is where my camera battery died but only after I got a few shots of these cool animals. The musk Ox were endemic to Alaska but were wiped out in the late 1800’s by Sealers and Whalers. In 1930 Congress appropriated funds to bring 34 muskoxen from Greenland to Alaska in hopes of reestablishing the population. Musk Ox are particularly well adapted to life in the Arctic, and can survive on low quality foods. They get all of the energy they need from foods that would not support beef cattle or other similar sized organisms. Part of the research at the station is looking at the microbes in the animal’s digestive system and how they facilitate digestion of their food. All of the Musk Ox at the station have a cannula inserted into their digestive tract. This is a tube that allows researchers to reach into the digestive tract and take samples of stomach contents, which would also include the microbes of interest.

    Musk Ox

    Okay, more about the Caribou and Reindeer later. Have a lot of things to do here so we are kept rather busy.  



    See you all later