Bunny and I are in Fairbanks. We just got off of our Brooks Range Traverse. The Brooks Range has been having the wettest spring they’ve had in a long time (“The worst June weather I’ve seen in my 35 years of flying here,” is what our bush pilot, Kirk, said, when he picked me up) and all the rivers and streams are swollen well past normal levels. Streams that would be dry in normal years are running strongly, and small to regular streams are flooded and raging. We were crossing rivers and streams every day, multiple times per day. It was doable with the both of us, but then Bunny hurt her ankle and had to get off the route to heal. A few days later I realized that the stream crossings were too dangerous for me to feel comfortable attempting alone. I probably could’ve done it, and I probably would’ve been ok, but it would’ve been dangerous and very stressful and I decided it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. It was sad and disappointing to bail on the walking part of our route but also, once I decided to do it, I knew it was the best choice to make. This is just not the summer to walk across the arctic. As it is, I’m incredibly grateful that I got to spend eleven days in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and hopefully one day I’ll be back to attempt the walking part of the route again, when the rivers aren’t so flooded.
We’re still doing the 20-25 day Noatak river part of the route, in our inflatable kayaks- we start that trip on July 19th , in Gates of the Arctic National Park. I have eleven blog posts from ANWR that will be going up in the next few days, and I’ll be blogging every day from the Noatak as well, and posting those afterwards.
Sometimes things don’t go exactly as you planned, and that’s 100% ok. Especially when the outdoors is involved. I try to stay humble in all of it. I already spent the months it took to make this route and figure out the logistics, and I learned a lot about the walking part of the route in the eleven days I was out there, so if I attempt the route another year without an epically wet spring I feel like I’ll have a pretty good chance of success.
I hope you like the blog posts- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Brooks Range, and the Alaskan arctic in general are fucking incredible.
Tussocks 4 lyfe.