Field trip to Carmacks

It’s been a blur of a week, with many things demanding my time at work. I only have energy to write about one of those things now, with more to follow later.

This week I took a group of reporters to a fly-in site near Carmacks where an all-woman crew is hand digging holes for transmission poles. The area is a no-machine zone, meaning that all the work has to be done by hand or from the air. These women are digging holes that will end up being eight or nine feet deep and four to six feet across, using only shovels and other hand tools. The women do the first three or four feet and then a crew of men comes along and finishes digging to the required depth, again using only jackhammers and shovels. The poles themselves will be dropped into the holes by helicopters. I love the fact that women are doing what is some of the most physically demanding work on the line.

Here are a few pictures. The culverts you see in photo #1 weigh 300 pounds each and are set upright into the ground to hold the poles in place. The hole you see in photo #2 is deeper than I am tall. Notice the layer of white ash close to the surface…it’s from an Alaskan volcano that erupted a few hundred years ago. Photos #3 and #4 are shots of some of the reporters at work.

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