Last updated: February 1, 2017
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
August 20 - 25
Fly from Bettles to the Kobuk River. We land right on the river near Onion Portage. We will likely make camp on the nearest sand-bar for the night, settle into the country and assemble our canoes.
August 27 - 28
We have 2 full days days to cover 30 miles which leaves plenty of time for watching animals, wandering the woods, visiting Eskimo fish camps, and casting a line in hopes of eating Sheefish for dinner. We will spend time at Onion Portage pondering the many overlapping cultures who have hunted here and the way the mountains funnel caribou to this unique spot. The paddling is easy on the broad river unless we encounter headwinds, but we will try to paddle when the weather is good and amuse ourselves otherwise if the weather gets tough. Instruction is provided and no paddling experience is required.
Stash our canoes and walk inland towards the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes. It is a 2 mile “bush-whack” from the river to the dunes, but it is reasonably flat and the reward is worth the effort. Once we reach the sand we will begin our exploration in earnest. Caribou, 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. At day’s end we trek back to the river where our camp and canoes await.
Paddle a few miles to a sand-bar suitable for the plane to land. Then weather permitting, our bush plane will arrive to fly us back to “civilization”. We plan to arrive in Kotzebue by early evening. Take a shower!