In late August, Georgia and I floated the Sheenjek River, which flows south out of the Brooks Range into the Yukon River flats. We were joined by our friends Cathy Hart and Eric Downey in their own raft. We were blessed with perfect fall colors and sunny skies when we flew into the headwaters near Double Mountain. We stayed at the putin for four days, giving us time to hike to Last Lake, which inspired Mardy and Olaus Murie to push for the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Once on the river, the high point for us was a layover day near Lobo Lake, with easy hiking up nearby ridges which provide spectacular views. Over the space of two weeks, we floated from arctic tundra to interior spruce forest, with the usual northerly mix of sun, wind, rain, and even snow. For us, this was our fifth river trip in ANWR, and our first in the fall. We will never forget the brilliant golden hues of the river valley, with bright reds on the flanks of the gray mountains. Beautiful!