Last updated: October 12, 2015
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Pre-trip meeting in Kotzebue
Our trip begins with a flight over the Noatak River and into the Brooks Range. We fly on and on, watching the world’s largest terrestrial wilderness pass below us. We will land on a gravel island in the Kokolik River. After unloading the plane and pitching camp we will have nothing but time to explore this pristine area.
Assemble the boats and head downriver. The upper Kokolik valley hosts not only an abundance of wildlife, but an abundance of fossil life. Marine and terrestrial fossils abound. The river carves its way through the mountains, hugging first the east bank, and then the west. Gravel and sand bars fill the broad floodplain valley. We will only paddle 10 or so miles of this clear river on our first day. Our priority will be to make sure everyone feels safe and confident in the boats.
June 10- 14
We will mix paddling days with hiking days. We have some miles we must cover but the schedule allows ample time for exploration on foot and leisure time in camp. The river traverses first one mountain range and then another. We will have the opportunity to ascend some of these broad colorful ridges. As we travel north the river grows from a large creek to a meandering river. There are obstacles to avoid but for the most part we can devote our attention to scenery and wildlife. The river cuts through many small sub-ranges of the Brooks Range. In between each of these ranges are broad valleys where you feel as if you could be swallowed by the sky.
At a gravel bar near Archimedes Ridge we will wait for our pilot and then fly back to Kotzebue. Change your socks!