In late July, more than 300 wildfires are burning in Alaska. With burned acreage totals one month ahead of the historic 2004 fire season, summer 2015 is again the year of the wildfire. Many scientists are not surprised.
While slicing a cylinder of mud he pulled from an Interior Alaska lake, Matthew Wooller ran into a snag. The wire he was using to cut the mud stopped when it hit something solid. He grabbed a knife, carved around the obstruction, and made a discovery.
While tightroping on tussock heads in a bog off the Chandalar River, two companions and I heard a waterfall. Strange. Looking through binoculars, we saw a knee-high fountain of clear water in the tundra. The flow was as thick as your leg.
MIDDLE FORK, CHANDALAR RIVER - Two hundred miles straight north of my home in Fairbanks, I'm at the northern edge of a forest that carpets the continent all the way to Labrador.
And they are here. Sluggish mosquitoes, sprung from the leaves where they overwintered. Moths and butterflies flitting the fields and south-facing slopes. Beetles skittering along in pinstripe-grooved exoskeletons.
At the edge of a spruce forest in Interior Alaska, archaeologists have unearthed bone pendants that might be the first examples of artwork in northern North America.
On a recent ski trip across the Seward Peninsula, I followed a trail along the Pilgrim River broken by five friends. Their path led to a subarctic oasis.
Skiing across the raw, open landscape of the Seward Peninsula a few weeks ago, my friends and I dreamed of getting out of a big wind and into the tub at Serpentine Hot Springs.
Under its own power, an earthworm gains about 30 feet of new territory each year. But that does not help explain how worms got to Alaska. "It's almost geologically slow," Matt Bowser, said of the earthworm's locomotion.
Fairbanks's air turns bitter every winter as residents fill it with woodsmoke and other things, but just down the road Denali National Park has the clearest air measured among America's monitored national parks.
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