Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Imnavait Sampling and Galbrith Hike

Allison and I spent our first morning at Toolik Field Station collecting samples from the gorgeous (and easily accessible) Toolik Lake.  We wanted to start on an easy site since we still haven't fully figured out how we are processing everything.  Filtering started out slowly (we filtered our first 2 L of water in about 4 hours).  However, with a few creative changes to our set-up we have been chugging along ever since.  We finished filtering and extracting water from the nearby Toolik Lake on Friday evening (I will discuss the extraction process in more detail later on).  So on Saturday, we ventured out to the field to collect more water.  Since we are hoping to isolate dissolved organic matter, we were looking for lakes or streams with extremely high organic content (the higher the dissolved organic carbon or DOC content of the water, the smaller the volume of we need to collect!).  We headed to Imnavait river.  At this location, there are small ponds of nearly standing water that contains tons of carbon just few hundred meters off of the road(ie. lots of decaying plant and animal matter/waste)!!  The water was nearly yellow  -- which is a great sign when you are hunting for DOC.

 Our sampling location at Imnavait

Allison and I trucked out there with our beer pitchers (it was the only thing that I could find that was large enough to scoop water out of the lake!!) and our 4 carboys that can hold 20 L each to collect water.  The carboys weight 55lbs each when full, so it was a bit of a haul back to the truck :-).  

On Sunday, we decided we were far enough in filtering that we could take a break and head out for a hike.  Sunday is generally when most people in camp take the day off and hike or sleep etc.  Since this was our only Sunday in camp, we had to make the most of it and explore!  We joined a little group that was headed south to Galbrith Lake to check out the peaks around that area.  Once you get up on the ridges it is fairly easy to tromp from peak to peak along the ridge.

On the way to Galbrith Lake, we stopped by a thermokarst site to see the ice wedge that recently broke off.  Thermokarst are characterized on the landscape surface by humocky landscape or long ditches which form as the result of melting permafrost.  In the particular site we visited, the tundra overlies solid ice and as it begins to melt, wedges often will break off (see image above).

At one point during the hike, we spotted some movement on one of the far ridges.  It turns out it was another group from Toolik out for a hike :-)

When we got to Galbrith, we did a bit of scouting to determine where to go.  I was bound and determined to get out of slogging through the tundra up to the ridges - so we picked a few that looked like good hiking and headed up and away!

This picture is of Allison and Kiki as they hiked up over our first summit of the day!

After the first summit, we realized that since we were already so high, we should continue along the ridge to reach a slightly higher peak.

This is the view I wanted!!


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