Last updated: July 1, 2016
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
After seeing the sights in Kotzebue and collecting park stamps at the new Western Arctic Parklands visitors center, meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting this evening in Kotzebue.
Fly from the Eskimo village of Kotzebue on the Chukchi Sea north up the Noatak River in search of caribou. Though we have a couple places in mind, the destination for this day will be determined by the caribou and our assessment of where they are traveling. We will definitely be in a beautiful mountain pass. With luck there will be caribou migrating past.
A full day to explore and enjoy the mountains. Your desires help govern our activities. We can hike to a lake and try some fishing, ascend the nearest peak and watch Dall Sheep grazing, or plan a big loop hike, up one drainage and down the other. If caribou are in the area will will likely spend most of the day quietly watching them while they walk the ancient caribou trails that cut into the tundra.
After packing up our camp, we await the pilot’s return. We may make a stop in Gates of the Arctic National Park and take a quick hike if our first camp was not quite within the park boundaries. Then we will fly south right into the heart of the Kobuk Dunes. Once we unload we may have to carry our gear a ways to access fresh drinking water but then we can go and explore the dunes, springs and sand flats.
A full day to enjoy the dunes. Moose, wolves and fox all frequent the dunes as do a great number of birds. The sand constantly shifts and swirls. There are springs coming right out of the sand and great expanses where nothing seems to live. The hiking is soft in places but great distances can be covered if so inclined. Swim in the ponds, look for wolf dens, slide down the tallest dunes, or just stretch out your beach towel and parasol.
Weather permitting, our bush plane will arrive to fly us back to “civilization”. We plan to arrive back in Kotzebue by early evening. Empty sand from boots and take a shower.