In the following essay, excerpted from BLM’s 2016 Dalton Highway Visitor Guide, recently retired BLM Alaska park ranger Lisa Jodwalis uses a recent Hollywood science fiction movie to highlight the challenges (and thrills) of a winter visit to the remote Dalton Highway, which connects Interior Alaska and the North Slope.
Lisa Jodwalis worked as a park ranger and ran the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot from 2001 to 2008. She assisted the BLM hydrologist with snow surveys along the Dalton Highway from 2011 to 2013 and has driven the road in every month except January. She always made it home without freezing any digits.
In the book and movie “The Martian,” astronaut Mark Watney struggles to survive alone on a desolate desert planet where the average temperature is -80ºF. Although he has trained for this and @nasa has provided some awesome tools, anything that can go wrong, does. Only his determination, resourcefulness, and know-how keep him alive. But that’s science fiction, right?