Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Brooks Range August 2006

Brooks Range August 2006

Arrigetch Mountains Hike and Alatna Raft Trip

In August 2006 I drove with 7 friends to up the Dalton highway to Coldfoot were we flew with Coyote Air to the Alatna River. The people on the trip were Trond Flagstad, Lindsey Flagstad, Toby Schwoerer, Rachel Steer, Geir Ulstein, Per Arne, Claire Norton-Cruz and myself. We hiked and camped in the Arrigetch mountains for two days and then rafted (or floated is more like it) for 4-5 days down the Alatna river to our pick-up point. We had variable weather (2 days very nice, 1 day of snow in the Arrigetch, and 4 days of rain and drizzle on the Alatna). There were few mosquitos and even less wildlife (the only animal of any size was a bull moose crossing the Alatna river) ... but there were plenty of signs of wolf, bear and other critters.

On the Arctic Circle (Per Arne, Geir and Claire)
Our transport to the bush - Coyote Air - from Coldfoot.
The landing strip along the Alatna river
Gorgeous weather the first two days
Getting ready to hike up the Arrigetch creek (Trond Flagstad, Lindsey, Claire, Geir, Per Arne, Rachel and Toby)
How to ford a creek ....
Per A and Geir ... "where is the trail? You promised a trail!"
Arrigetch Peaks in the distance
Halfway there is a great dry knob for resting or camping
Staring out in a heat wave and ending up in a drenching rainstorm before we got to our campsite at the foot of the Arrigetch peaks, popularly called the Meadow Camp.
Our campsite. Toby and Rachel later realized that that had put their tent on top of a squirrel's hole. The poor thing had to dig a new exit to get out!
Strange creatures live in the Arrigetch
Upper Arrigeth Creek
Granite walls famous for climbing
More climbing opportunities
Trond F and Lindsey serving up burritos
South fork Arrigetch Creek
Arrigetch ... native name meaning "fingers of a hand outstretched"
The next morning ... a dusting of snow.
Breakfast before heading back down to the Alatna
Parting shots of the granite walls
and the Arrigetch creek
Real bushwhacking.
Trond F finds himself a tree with some possibilities
Back on the "beach". The big question was whether the bears had left our food and rafts alone for the three days we had been gone. We had stashed everything as high as possiblew in some trees and there was no damage!
Trond F and Lidsey getting ready to hit the river. We now had four intensive days of rafting ahead of us. We averaged 6-8 hours on the river each day and made the stipulated 6 day downriver trip in 3 1/2 days.
The crew ... Geir, Claire, Toby, Trond F, Lidsey and Rachel.
Toby and Rachel in their "rubber ducky"
Trond J impatient with the photographer as the rain was starting to come down hard.Typical river condition ... class I. There was only a short section of class I+
Sacrificial burning of Per Arne's "state-of-the-art" norwegian Viking hiking boots.
Camp activities while waiting for the Coyote air pickup
... or just sit around and be bored like Geir and Per Arne (I think they'd had enough of the rain at this point).
Finally ... our ride back to civilization.

No comments: