Geosciences in Alaska


Arctic Alaska Dinosaur Project

Team Members

Preparatory Field Trip to Pt. Reyes

Field Research in Alaska

Geoscience Conceptual Framework


Trip Log: Monday, July 29, 2002

We were up early this morning to prepare for our departure from Poverty Bar. At 11:30 a.m. the much anticipated thumping of approaching helicopters got our blood moving. The three Chinook helicopters landed close to the water on the gravel bar where we had camped and for the next two hours a moving line of fossil hunters and army service personnel (looking much like a party of leaf cutter ants) carried belongings from the camp to load on the helicopters.

Chinooks landing
Chinooks land on Poverty Bar.

Loading the Chinooks
Loading up the Chinooks.

Loaded Chinooks
Can you believe we filled up ALL this space in THREE Chinooks?

Finally loaded, we took off on our flight to Fairbanks. With mixed emotions we watched our home for the last ten days fade into the distance. While delighted with the magical flight we were embarking on, we were somewhat saddened to leave “our” hadrosaurs. We hoped that our efforts would provide part of the key, which would unlock the mystery of what had happened to them.

The pilots left the large rear door open for viewing and flew low enough for us to see the myriad lakes, caribou, Dall sheep and bear below. The interplay of light and shadow highlighted the green, brown, yellow and orange hues of tundra and forest. We were enthralled with the sweeping vistas unfolding below us, as we inhaled the extravagant beauty of this most northern state.

View from inside Chinook
A view out the back of the helicopter. They left the ramp open most of the trip.

Passengers inside Chinook
Happy passengers.

Another Chinook in the air
A view of the other Chinook carrying Dave, Steve and the boat.

Reporters run to greet us as we arrive on the UAF campus.

At our refueling stop in Bettles, when we mentioned that we were teachers from California, the proprietor of “Sourdough Outfitters” store said that she had seen us on T.V. She treated us like celebrities with a welcome gift of popsicles. This was just a warm-up for our landing in Fairbanks. We were quite the media event when the three helicopters landed on a field across from the University soccer field. Cars stopped along the road, the practicing soccer team ran over to see what was going on, people stopped and stared and the media did interviews and took pictures. Pretty exciting stuff!

Possibly more exciting to us at that point though, was the thought of hot showers, clean clothes and pizza. We were so grateful to the Army for providing our transportation safely back to Fairbanks and making this last day such a memorable experience.

Reporters for the day: Peg and Rena

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Project partners and sponsors:
West Contra Costa Unified School District   UC Museum of Paleontology   University of Alaska Museum    National Science Foundation    The Mechanics Bank
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