While in Alaska

Ah, the joys of summer … camping in the great outdoors, basking in the midnight sun, protecting yourself from mosquitoes able to carry off small animals, cleaning up after busloads of tourists and long-haul truckers.

Slate Creek Inn, at Coldfoot Camp

Not your idea for a summer vacation? Well, you needn’t go yourself.  Ted Worcester, of Wheaton’s Class of 2012,  jetted off to Alaska for the season to work at Coldfoot Camp, a combination tourist lodge and truck stop above the Arctic Circle. And he’ll tell you all about it.

In his blog, While in Alaska, Ted chronicles the challenges and joys of life at one of civilization’s furthest-flung outposts. The updates take place daily, and usually include photos to provide the reader with a better sense of place.

Ted describes the site of his summer sojourn this way:

Coldfoot is located on mile 175 of the Dalton Highway, a 414-mile gravel road that runs from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay.  It is mostly frequented by truckers running supplies from Fairbanks to oil workers drilling in Prudhoe Bay.  The journey for these truckers is often arduous due to rough conditions of the road.  Imagine an 18 wheeler going 50 miles per hour down a dirt road filled with potholes and unexpected forms of wildlife.  Coldfoot itself is 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 240 miles below the Arctic Ocean.  According to the census, there are 13 permanent residents of Coldfoot.  However, hundreds lodge at Coldfoot year round, mostly during the summer season, as they make their trip up the Dalton Highway.  As far as infrastructure, there is a hotel, restaurant, satellite internet access, and satellite television.  Coldfoot is far from being a Ritz Carlton, in fact the buildings, most of which resemble trailers, are very rudimentary.

The blog offers some fascinating reading about a most unusual summer job and an interesting young man. It also says something about the ubiquity of modern communications that we can keep up with Ted on a daily basis, even as he explores life in one of the more remote corners of the country.