Arctic

Three Rivers Traverse Expedition

Looking North from the Continental Divide - Brooks Range

Traveling on foot, by canoe and packraft from Skagway, in Southeast Alaska, to Kaktovik on the Beaufort Sea provided us with an extraordinary journey through the vast and unyielding Yukon and Alaskan Arctic. Our 3-month, 1,450-mile “Three Rivers Traverse Expedition” was a remarkably challenging human-powered adventure that required two summers to complete:

The first leg of the expedition was made during June and July 2007.  Our route that season included a 33-mile canoe portage on the historic Chilkoot Trail, 1000-miles by pack canoe down the Yukon River and 200-miles on foot lining our bright red boat up the seldom visited Chandalar River. Although our original plan was to continue over the Brooks Range and down the North Slope of ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) difficult travel combined with hunger, fatigue and the constraints of time forced us to stop 200-miles short or that goal in the Gwich’in Athabascan community of Arctic Village. 

Re-energized and ready for more we returned to Arctic Village in July 2010. Shouldering 85-pound packs we followed the Chandalar River valley 90-miles north before turning east into the Romanzof Mountains and crossing the Continental Divide. The crossing delivered us into the heart of the Brooks Range where our mountaineering skills gave us access to the Okpilak Glacier basin—the largest in the range. The West Okpilak Glacier led to the emerald green Okpilak River which in turn guided us out of the mountains and 100-miles overland across an eerily vacant coastal plain. On arrival to the Arctic Ocean we launched our single tiny packraft, tandem paddling the icy waters of Arey Lagoon to Kaktovik—the Inupiat whaling village on Barter Island and our journey’s successful end.

Route Map

route map

Ally Canoe

Ally canoe

Alpacka Packraft

Alpacka packraft

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