We made it! Thanks to the work of ground crews at O’Hare we managed to get out only a little late from Chicago. A smooth flight saw the team (Myself, Meridith Bruozas and John Domyancich) in Denver where we connected for the 5 and a half hour to Anchorage. Lots of interesting folks on the flight, from ice road truckers to many involved in the energy industry.
Stunning approach over the bay (assumedly the Anchorage in Anchorage) with circular sea ice and amazing mountains. Trees in Anchorage were all white due to a freezing fog. At the recommendation of hotel staff we headed to a local spot. Folks in Alaska are very friendly with a comforting casualness. Like the midwest turned up to 11. We overnighted in Anchorage as our flight was not until the next morning.
A little about the team, I am acting as a domain expert on a curriculum development team. John and Meridith are the education geniuses from Educational Programs and Outreach. Meridith is the manager of the group (~12 folks) and John is the Learning Center Lead. An area John and Meridith are established experts in is developing education research around computational thinking. This is not computer science, more how students can be taught to solve problems algorithmically. This blog will cover our project, Precipitating Change in more detail later. Our flight from Anchorage to Utqiagvik is part of a “mail run” a multi-hop trip. We are the second “hop” after a stop at Prudhoe Bay. Flying into Deadhorse airport was like landing on a alien planet. Prudhoe is home to the largest oil field in the USA. It looks like a outpost on Hoth!
At Deadhorse we let some new workers off and a crew rotating out came on board for the loop back to Anchorage via Barrow and Fairbanks. It was a quick, less than one hour to fly west by northwest (another 1.2 degrees north) to Utqiagvik. We landed in a thin mist. Full kudos to our pilots, I have no idea how they tell the white of the sky from the white of the cold hard ground.
With a quick taxi the plane came to a stop just outside a small terminal. And with that we walked out into the Great White. Many of the passengers disembarked here, and it is clear this flight has a very high checked luggage ratio. With so much being flown in produce is very expensive in Utqiagvik so the locals returning from trips had many totes full of goods. So we are here! Now begins the process of learning and learning about learning at the top of the world.