Yesterday we left Fairbanks at six in the morning and drove 100 miles up the Steese Highway, where we met Rick Swisher of Quicksilver Air in his black Robinson R44. From there it was a short hop to Porcupine Dome, where we replaced the station's batteries and installed a new radio link to our seismic station in Fort Yukon, 70 miles to the north. Fixing Porcupine Dome filled a large hole in our network, as we have no other stations in the White Mountains.
It was two degrees below zero on the highway, but up on the dome it was a comfortable, windless twenty degrees - a beautiful autumn field day in Alaska. It was also our last scheduled field day this year.
From April through October, a total of 13 staff members and students visited 94 of our stations, replacing old batteries, upgrading communications systems, and fixing the busywork of mountain goats, bears, and squirrels.
We traveled by truck (over 10,000 miles), commercial air, chartered helicopter, and foot, working at stations from Juneau to Atka to Tin City and logging over 250 person days in the field. Today our data return rate stands at a very satisfying 96%.