This is the house I rented a room in outside of Fairbanks. The house's owner is also a biologist and she was doing work up near the Brooks Mountain Range. She gave me a good deal on rent in exchange for taking care of her two dogs while she was away.

Rent is amazingly expensive in the Fairbanks area. It would not be uncommon to pay $500 a month for a cabin in the woods with no running water. A lot of the houses outside of Fairbanks don't have plumbing. Here's why: every spring, when the permafrost begins to melt, the ground moves as the ice in the ground begins to thaw. This is known as "spring break-up." This movement of the ground would easily crack water lines and makes laying water pipe into the surrounding areas of Fairbanks impossible. Most people fill of buckets or tanks of water at designated springs and bring the water back to their houses or cabins.

The house I stayed in had running water which was delivered via a tanker truck every month or so.

Bird Nerd.
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Text and all photographs Copyright © 1999 Matthew Gerbrandt
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Revised -- October 17th, 2001