My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Barrow, the most northern community in the United State~ Part 1

on August 22, 2013

Aug. 16-18, 2013


Pizza place, no real zoning in Barrow, so there are just random buildings that are stores or restaurants.

Blessed!  We are blessed that we had the opportunity to visit Barrow for my job AND have such a wonderful experience while there.  We stayed with a colleague and appreciated her hospitality, tour and yummy food.  Where to start?  Upon landing on Friday night we ordered a pizza and calzone, which was really, and I do mean really good.   If you think there are not a lot of options in Barrow for food you are wrong.  They have all sorts of restaurants, from Pizza to Mexican to Chinese and Japanese, many great options.  One of the best treats was that we got to have some whale meat.whale  A long time ago I had a chance to eat some whale blubber/oil which was very fishy tasting so I imagined that the meat might be similar, but I was shocked that it tasted much like beef or any type of red meat.  It was very tasty.

A little bit about the culture in Barrow and when I write little I mean it.  I certainly was not there long enough to learn a lot, but I will share what I picked up on this trip or from discussions I have had with friends from there over the years.

There are 2 times a year that the whaling captains and crew go out in search of whales, the spring and the fall.  There are about 40 whaling captains in Barrow though the entire community is part of the processing once a whale is gotten.  There is a limit to the number of whales that can be taken in one year with a maximum of 12.


typical boats to go out on whale hunts

In the spring the captains have to go out and when the whales are killed they are cut up on the ice.   However, this year there was not one whale taken in the spring and it was not until July because the crews could not get to the ice, and when they could it was too thin.  This is a bit troubling to the members of this community; it seems to be a visual example of climate change and the change in the ice and ocean



IMG_0508 whale jaw bones

The fall was more fruitful and the community was able to fill freezers etc. with whale meet, oil etc.  The fall whales are brought back to town and they are chopped up on the old runway for the old airport.  This runway is a solid flat surface and safe for the butchering process.  The entire community comes out and everyone is given jobs to do.  IMG_0531 IMG_0532 IMG_0534center

Just before we arrived the one and only barge for the year made it to Barrow.  The reason that it is only once a year is that historically there has been limited time when the ice was gone enough to get into land.  This means that any new vehicle, a lot of supplies, etc. are ordered and brought in on this barge.  People order things such as dog food for an entire year, or Pam cooking oil as the weight of these items, or the fact that they are ‘flammable’ are too much to ship or not allowed to be shipped on a plane. IMG_0489 IMG_0490 IMG_0491 IMG_0492

Speaking of shipping things, take a look at the prices of things at the AC (main grocery store) I am not sure what shocked me most, potato chips OR charcoal for grills, thought toilet paper and bottled water is pretty high up there too. IMG_0536chips IMG_0537soup IMG_0538charcoal IMG_0539cereal IMG_0540milk IMG_0541joy IMG_0542tp IMG_0543water

One of the things most people don’t expect to find in Barrow, but has become quite a tourist destination is the football field.  About 7 years ago this field was put in and it allows the students to play other high schools in the state.  It might not surprise you that the home games are played in Barrow in Aug. and Sept. then they fly south to play other teams when it gets just too cold to play out of doors in Barrow.   I was told that when they win, the players run into the Arctic Ocean to celebrate! What I found most interesting is that though the football field is outside and we watched some jr. high kids at practice, AND we saw the cross country team running on the roads around town, there are NO outdoor playgrounds and there are NEVER outdoor recesses!Try to imagine that.


for the press box the district re purposed a conex shipping container. It was cut in 1/2 and put up on their ends to create these press boxes.!!!!


quite foggy the day we visited


That’s all for this write up but I will tell more of our adventure in the next blog!

2 responses to “Barrow, the most northern community in the United State~ Part 1

  1. My InfoTom Milan says:

    I sure enjoy your Tales of the North, Timi. It’s probably good that the food lacking real nutrition costs so much. The toilet paper prices are a little alarming.


  2. […] Barrow, the most northern community in the United State~ Part 1 Aug […]


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