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Healing Journey: Trail of the Frozen Frogs

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National Geographic grantee and contributor Jon Waterhouse, an avid paddler and Alaska Region Director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, is leading the 2010 Healing Journey down the Koyukuk River from Coldfoot to Koyukuk, Alaska. Along the way, he’s calling from the field via satellite phone to share stories with BlogWild readers of the river, the wilderness, the wildlife, and the people he encounters.

"Hi Ford, it’s Jon Waterhouse. It’s the 29th of June.

"We’re running into a lot of wood frogs along the way. Of course, frogs are a sign of a fairly healthy environment, but I don’t know if what we’re seeing is really a lot or if they’ve gone down in numbers.

"The wood frog is the only frog in Alaska. People can Google that: wood frog and Alaska.

"The really cool thing about this guy is he can freeze solid in the winter. They freeze solid as a brick, and then in the spring they thaw out, come back to life, and go hopping away and doing their thing that frogs do. We’re seeing a lot of them—it’s pretty cool.

"Some scientist friends of mine tell me that modern scientists are studying wood frogs. If somebody (a person) were really injured they could freeze them until they could get them someplace they could fix them up, or they could freeze people and send them to, I don’t know, Mars, let’s say, and then unfreeze them when they get there.

"I think we’re a long ways from that, because these frogs aren’t very big. But they’re studying them to see why they can freeze and then come back to life with no harm done.

"Have a great day. We’ll talk to you soon. Take care, - Jon"

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Photo of wood frog at top by W-van from Wikimedia Commons, photo of Jon Waterhouse with wood frog courtesy Jon Waterhouse

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