Noatak River, Alaska August 2015

From Nelson Walker Lake to Kotzebue

August 4, 2015

We went to bed last night with the sun brightly shining and planned a hike for the morning. We had hoped to hike up one of the ridges after breakfast. After eating pancakes loaded with blueberries we packed up for the hike. As we made our way thru thick brush we yelled out to inform any bears that we were coming thru. Unfortunately, as we broke thru the brush we were stopped by a wide channel of the Noatak. We had been camping on a large island. Plan B was back to camp and to head down the river. The river continues to pick up volume and the current moves us along nicely. We found a nice spot for lunch, but just as we had gotten the food out, we spotted a large bear loping in our direction. It was a quick scramble to grab the food and hop back into the boat. The bear noticed us and quickly turned and ran.  We appreciated the bear’s response. As we continued down stream a large wolf appeared on the left bank. It quickly disappeared into the brush. Another hike found us looking for Lake Mascharak, a common take out for the upper river. We did not find it as we later discovered we had not gone far enough down the river.  Again we decided to camp between river valleys in hoping to avoid bear encounters. A cup of Earl Grey tea followed with squares of chocolate from Trader Joes makes for a relaxful evening.  Today we wore extra tuffs and our feet were in need of drying out.  During a short hike after dinner we saw an American Plover and a Northern Shrike.  In the tent by 10 o'clock with a still bright sun in the sky.

Miles traveled 23