Arctic Circle Trip

A friend and I just finished Roman’s arctic circle trip about a week ago. Scott and I finished in about 8 days. The terrain was very rugged with lots of bush wacking and bogs. Weather was good, mosquitos were pretty rough…Coolest thing I have ever done, a full loop…we also met another group of guys doing the same trip, but starting at a different point (Near portage pass). Wondering if you guys are out there? Would love to hear from you all. I should be posting pictures soon, Im back at Denali Outdoor Center near Healy for the summer. AMAZING TRIP…but go light.

Yo- we were the 3 dudes camped on the sandbar up Portage Cr with the heavy packs. Couple hours after talking to you guys I stumbled upon a fresh Grizzly kill - believe it was a Dall Sheep (we saw Dall Sheep high up on the mountain) but could have been a caribou - in any case I didn’t hang around to ID it. We were wondering if you ran into same? Lucky for me the bear was “off duty”. Later up on the divide we saw the bear heading back to the site, fortunately passing us on the opposite side of the little lake. We spotted 5 Grizzly bears in total - one particularly beautiful bear passing in the opposite direction near Mystery Pass in a rain storm -another 100 yds from my tent when I woke up in the AM- all were good encounters with no problems.

Instead of doing the hot springs portion of the trek (anybody know if that is a good hot springs for soaking?) we decided to head up Arrigetch Cr and rejoin the loop on the other side of Deception Pass - we headed up Arrigetch (found a perfect wolf skull and body parts) and got stomped bad floundering around in the brush on the right side of the gorge, only to find that there is a climbers trail on the left side of the gorge - took us 6 hrs to go 2 miles. The hike up and over Ariel was a ball buster but we made it.

The talus on the backside of Talus Pass and Mystery Pass is world class - wouldn’t want to get injured there though.

Put in on the upper Noatak after a layover day, where Igikpak drainage hits the Noatak - real nice boating from there down (as was the Alatna). It started raining quite a bit later on our float down the Noatak, continuing through the night and by the next morning the gravel bar at our pickup spot (near Twelve Mile Cr) was quickly disappearing as the Noatak rose quite a bit and got big, precluding a pickup by the Helio. We were low on food and fuel, but take note; 151 seems to burn just as well as white gas in a whisperlite. Using the Sat phone we got coordinates to Pingo Lk (just below Portage Cr) and late the next day Brooks Range Aviation picked us up in the Beav and we made it to Bettles. The lodge was closed and we were starving, but the good folks at Brooks Range lined us up with frozen pizza (I immediately burned the heck out of the roof of my mouth), but other wise all was good.

Some of the most memorable rainbows I have ever seen - hardest hike of my life - incredibly sweet camps - the best - lucky we had 14 days.