Unparalleled mountain and tundra scenery, outstanding wildlife, great hiking and paddling- from its headwaters, paddle the Kobuk through the heart of the Central Brooks Range, in its southern reaches, where the boreal forest rises along the river, its widely spaced trees and verdant floor of lichens beckons exploration. Fish for arctic char and sheefish, paddle through whitewater canyons, explore unique arctic sand dunes. This is the North at its finest!
Day 1: Depart Fairbanks, Alaska by small plane, arriving in Bettles, a small outpost just north of the Brooks Range. Travel by charter bushplane to headwaters of the Kobuk River, on Walker Lake, deep in the heart of the mountains in Gates of the Arctic National Park. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: On the river. Our first task is to inflate our canoes, and drift down the first mile of the river. Then, we'll run, or portage whitewater in the first canyon on the Kobuk. After the portage, the floating seems easy, until we reach the second canyon. We may camp before we run the second canyon. We can run this one in our sturdy, yet-responsive canoes.
We alternate hiking and paddling days, to allow exploration of the landscape. Wildlife we might see include: wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, caribou, moose, river otters, wolverines. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: On the river. We pause to climb alpine ridges and to enjoy the bounty of summer - ripe blueberries! Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: On the river. Layover hiking day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: On the river. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: On the river. Layover hiking day. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: On the river. We leave Gates of the Arctic National Park and enter Kobuk Valley National Park. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: On the river. Hike the Kobuk Sand Dunes, where we explore 100-foot-high sand dunes left during the Pleistocene Age. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Pick-up on the river by charter plane, then back to Bettles, and on by plane back to Fairbanks. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 10: Travel home.
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USA Alaska Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting Photography and Videography