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Monday, Jun 17, 2019

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Gary Belcher, physical, environmental and human geography instructor at Ohio University Southern, displays his OHIO pride from the Arctic Circle.

Gary Belcher, physical, environmental and human geography instructor at Ohio University Southern, displays his OHIO pride from the Arctic Circle.

Pictured is a musk ox grazing in the fields along the Dalton Highway.

Pictured is a musk ox grazing in the fields along the Dalton Highway.

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Ohio University Southern geography instructor explores Alaska, Arctic Circle


IRONTON, Ohio – When most folks dream of taking a summer vacation, thoughts of sun and sand come to mind. For Gary Belcher, Ohio University Southern physical, environmental and human geography instructor, the path he chose was less traveled. Belcher traveled north in June to explore Alaska, also known as The Last Frontier, as this was something that he had always wanted to accomplish. 

This trip took Belcher and his family to the Arctic Circle by way of the Dalton Highway, which was made famous by the television show “Ice Road Truckers.”

“We got to see some musk ox along the way,” Belcher said. Musk oxen are Arctic mammals related to sheep and goats. “They graze in northern areas where winter temperatures reach 70 below zero. I think they have a neat look,” Belcher added.

The Dalton Highway was built in 1974 to serve a double purpose: as a service road for the northern part of the Trans-Alaska pipeline and a route for trucks to reach the oilfields in Prudhoe Bay. Anyone traveling to this remote area should make special preparations prior to their journey. Some suggestions for travelers are online at http://www.wikihow.com/Travel-the-Dalton-Highway.

When asked why he chose such a unique destination, Belcher said, “I like to travel and experience different regions. It gives me a greater insight that I can pass on to my students.” 

Interested in geography? It’s not too late to register for fall classes. Click here to view fall semester geography courses. 

This article was provided by Ohio University Southern.