Monday, August 25, 2008

Autumn comes early in the North

Heather picks plump blueberries from the brilliant fall foliage.

We headed north of Fairbanks to the Kanuti River for the weekend. This river which dissects the landscape just south of the Arctic Circle served as our pathway to the completely undeveloped hot springs about 12 miles away. The water level was quite low when we dropped our packrafts into the river and resulted in a rather "bony" ride for much of the float. We spent several hours prying ourselves from slightly submerged rocks and pin balling our way downriver between boulders.

Sky preferred to swim or run along the bank during much of the float.

But when forced...she would submit and impatiently sit in the packraft.

The flotilla of rafters approaches one of the frequent boulder gardens during the 14 mile trip to the hot springs. The river is littered with rocks of varying size and is much more navigable at higher water levels.

The springs are situated on the edge of a meadow of wild mint and onions. About 5 people can fit comfortably in the shallow springs.

Revitalized after a warm soak in the pool, an evening by the campfire, and a tropical-like nights rest on the geothermally heated ground adjacent to the pool.

The springs are located in an opening in the spruce trees just left of the river in the valley below. The steep ascent up to the ridge line was quite brutal as we bushwhacked through thick brush and simultaneously scrambled over criss-crossing downed trees from an old wildfire.

Lisa rests with Sky after fighting her way through an entanglement of willows and alders.

Travel was effortless up high in the alpine tundra as we skirted the summit of Caribou Mountain.


Vår Utsida said...

Looks like a great little trip, sure wish we hade some hot springs over here. Not quite as much autumn colors here yet, but we are not far behind.

Brian Jackson said...

Edward, Great posts as usual...I am looking forward to reading stories about your international travel!

Leslie said...

awesome trip! How I miss Fall!!