Deadhorse is the end of the Dalton Highway. The permanent population is listed between 25 and 50 residents; however, temporary residents, those employed by various vendor establishments, can range as high as 3,000 depending on the requirements at Prudhoe Bay.
The town of Deadhorse consists primarily for the workers and companies that operate or service the nearby Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which brings oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez on the south-central Alaska coast. Facilities in Deadhorse are built entirely on man-made gravel pads and usually consist of pre-fabricated modules shipped to Deadhorse via hauling trucks, barges or air cargo.
After checking in for our 45-minute flight to Kaktovik, we stopped at the Prudhoe Bay General Store which sold just about anything you would need while living in this area – from clothing to auto parts. We purchased a few post cards and headed downstairs to the local post office to buy stamps. Of course, it was closed for the lunch hour. One thing not sold in the general stores was alcoholic beverages. In fact no alcohol is sold anywhere in Deadhorse, thus a humorous slogan for the town is “All that far and still no bar.”
Time to catch our flight to Kaktovik, our destination to see polar bears. Era Alaska began service in 1948 when the first commercial helicopter flew to Alaska to work on a mapping contract for the U.S. government. These small mapping routes grew over the years until scheduled passenger service took flight in May 1983 connecting some of the Last Frontier’s most famous destinations and those not-so-famous areas.
It is time to board. Our luggage was transported to the plane in cardboard boxes that were required to be used “5 times.” For a Professional Organizer, this gave me a chuckle!
All abroad – all eight of us. It is lift off to spectacular views of Deadhorse and the Prudhoe Bay area.