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24 March, 2002

March 23-24, 2002

I'm back in the Anchorage airport waiting for my plane to head to Fairbanks. As I got here plenty early, I have a little time to reflect and write about the last 2 days.

Both days, I took advantage of some extra time to explore Turnagain Arm along HWY 1 south of Anchorage. Although I'd driven down there Friday, one trip wasn't enough to really take it all in. Saturday, I only drove about 20 miles, pulled over, and went for a few mile hike. The trail basically followed a ridge above the highway, so sounds of cars were prevalent, but views of Prince William Sound and the Alaska Mountain Range were also close. The trail was commonly used - by people as well as moose. In comparison to ranch life at home, I think I stepped over more piles of moose dung on the trail than I would cow pies in a pasture! Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to actually see one, though. A highlight was crossing a creek bed - it was covered in snow, but I could hear the running water underneath. As I walked across, my heart beat sped up a little with visions of falling through! I'm sure it wasn't there dangerous, but my imagination definitely gets the better of me at times.

Today's views were completely different. I drove back to Portage glacier, but the mountaintops were hidden in clouds and light snow flurries. The days before, the mountains were reflected in the glassy ocean water, but today the water had white caps and chunks of ice stirring up the tranquility. At Portage, the wind was blowing so hard that the blowing snow hid the the glacier and all surrounding mountains.

As I stood on a little hill to video, I imagined myself on the North Slope facing the whiteness of the Arctic! It was actually a little intimidating.

So, science stuff Let's do some geography and earth science today. First, Anchorage is surrounded by 3 mountain ranges. What are their names? Mountains may be formed by a variety of physical activities, including crustal plate movements and volcanic activity. How were each of these mountain ranges formed?

Finally, answers to Thursday's questions:

1) source of variation and similarities of Homo sapiens ..

a. Variation: Homo sapiens differ in individual phenotypes (physical appearances) due to differences in genotypes (genetic make-up) and environmental differences. The genetic diversity is produced through a combination of crossing-over during meiosis (exchange of genes

between similar chromosomes), sexual reproduction and mutations.

b. Similarities: Homo sapiens share many similar traits because of our similarity in genotype (genetic make-up). Just as you inherited your genes (and thus traits) from your parents, all humans have inherited genes from a common ancestor.

2) Average Speed = distance/time

a. Lewellen to Denver: 210/3.25 hours = 64.6 mph

b. Denver to Seattle:1024 miles/2.83 = 361.84 mph

c. Seattle to Anchorage: 1448/3.5 hours = 413.7 mph

Check back tomorrow for my Fairbanks experiences, Barrow trepidations, and science answers!

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