Last updated: March 6, 2017
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide for a pre-trip meeting in Kotzebue
Fly north from Kotzebue After unloading the airplane we will make camp and relish the feeling of solitude. An evening hike on the tundra will whet our appetites for more exploration.
August 6 - 13
Backpacking along the Continental Divide from Copter Peak to the headwaters of the Nimiuktuk.
Rendezvous with a food resupply and packrafts. Inflate the packrafts, get a refresher on paddle strokes and review river safety in preparation for the next day’s paddle.
August 15 - 21
The weather, the river and the wildlife inform our decisions about when to paddle, when to hike, when to rest and when to climb the ridges for a vista. Some days we will spend most of the day on the water. Some days will be shorter and more leisurely and there will be one or two days when we elect to explore the uplands on foot and fish in the river, leaving camp set up for two nights in a single location. No matter how we spend our time, each day will be full of adventure and surprises
We reach the Noatak River and join the main current. After a day of paddling we encounter “The Grand Canyon” of the Noatak. There are no rapids but the scenery is sublime. We paddle and hike in turn. The fishing is excellent and we often see lots of wildlife on this stretch of river.
A final cast of the fishing rod; a final search of the gravel bar for fossilized coral; and then it is time to pack our gear and listen for the distant hum of an airplane, perhaps the first we have heard in weeks. Once the plane arrives it is back south. Weather permitting, we arrive in Kotzebue in time for a late dinner and a shower.