A blast from the past: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge 2006

When I had just enrolled at the University of Washington in 2006, I had the opportunity to travel to Alaska's North Slope as a part of the University of Washington Program on the Environment's Expedition to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The trip was, oddly enough, the first time I can remember ever having camped outdoors in my life. Prior to the trip, I took out a not-so-inconsequential student loan to buy gear, went to the REI flagship store in downtown Seattle, and proceeded to blow the minds of every REI employee.

REI sales dude: "Hey, look at this kid's list of gear he needs for a trip! Where are you going?"

Me: "Alaska, for work and school"

REI: "Where are you going exactly?"

Me: "The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, up in the northeastern corner of the state."

REI: "And you don't have any of this stuff?"

Me: "Nope, I've never even been camping before."

(Dumbfounded looks of disbelief from two sales dudes and a random Seattle REI customer who was really into water purification gear)

So, with that, I went camping (among other things) for the better part of a month in Alaska's northern country. I was twenty. I made a movie of the highlights upon my return to Seattle, and until now, it had been stashed on an old external drive:

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