Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ANWR Excursion: Finding Missiles and Scaring Grizzlies

August. Faith and I are dropped off by bush plane in the Wind River Drainage, 100 miles from any settlement or road in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 
This backpacking trip fulfilled my Jack-London-inspired childhood dreams of northern mountainous exploration. It was just the two of us, 300 caribou, and several grizzlies for 5 adventure-filled, perfect, epic days. WARNING: lots of me-photos that Faith took

Flying in
View from the plane













Leaving us behind
THE MISSILE:
We were walking back to our tent through some willows, I look to the right by the riverbank, and then.... "What the FUCK is that?!" We'd found a missile/rocket/unidentified flying object. It had no defining markings. If anyone has any clue what this is, please do tell.

      

THE BEAR: 
We'd just climbed up to the top of a cliff with a view of some peaks, and were walking down a roaring creek through a thicket of willows. I turn a corner and there's the bear. Faith grabbed the air horn. The bear ran into the willows. After regaining our hearing we continued back to camp. We later spotted another bear up on a ridge chasing some caribou. 
Fall colors and no mosquitoes
We found a bleached moose skull and knocked out several of its teeth with a rock (currently in the possession of my little sister--she was thrilled). 
This north face mountaineering tent was great... but my sleeping bag got wet, and I didn't bring a pad... so I had to sleep inside two garbage bags at night. Not too comfortable. 


Rocking the Lakeside Nordic Jacket







There were caribou everywhere, so I infiltrated several of their herds by crawling on my stomach through some blueberry bushes. They're not too savvy...


            
We found a big stone fortress in the middle of the valley and decided to climb up

Antlers of all sorts: 

And we're lost....
Time to go THAT way...  

Cooking food and drinking tea while waiting for the plane: 
 
 









Some of the scenery: 

                    



Drinking unfiltered water, and no, I didn't get giardia: 

          
                
 It rained, but the sunset was nice: 

Catching some Vitamin D: 

View on the way home:

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