Saying goodbye to Barrow

Our trip to Barrow lasted only a few days, but it was so jam-packed with adventures that it felt like we were there much longer (or maybe that’s just a side effect of that midnight sun, which kept me buzzing around the clock). I had such a blast with the Russells and the Glums, who were all great travel companions. On our last day, we stopped by the Top of the World Hotel, with its taxidermied polar bears in the lobby, to pick up a few souvenirs (and postcards, of course) and paid a second visit–this time for lunch–to Pepe’s North of the Border, a surprisingly good (given its remote locale, on the fringes of civilization) and, ironically, mostly-Mexican-fare restaurant that makes you forget you’re out on the barren arctic tundra. We headed back to Barrow’s tiny airport, where we saw several people we knew from town and our bird-watching jaunts (look, I’m telling you… it’s a really small world in Barrow, and when a plane comes in, folks just sorta end up at the airport) and said our goodbyes. Then we flew over the ice-locked shore and puddle-punctured tundra, up into the clouds, headed back south of the Arctic Circle to Alaska’s Interior. I can’t remember if I slept or not, but if I did, I’m sure I dreamed of snowy owls in a barren field and lovely little phalaropes, spinning tirelessly in tundra puddles, with a frozen sea holding the horizon still behind them.

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