off Folly Lake with ease and gracefully banked it's wing to the right
and wove it's way between two unnamed mountains and climbed steadily
up through the valley and was quickly out of sight. I stood there
for a moment taking in the incredible sight of this vast wilderness.
I was thinking how beautiful and pleasant this is. It's warm, sunny,
and …? But how much fun will this be if the weather really turns bad?
a brief moment I thought, yikes, what I have done!? I'm over 300 miles
from the closest McDonalds and no way out.
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Kutuk Pass - Temporary population of 6.
look at the valley going down the south slope and I instantly thought,
this must be the home of the Clan of the Cave Bear as recollections
of that prehistoric story began replaying through my brain. I conjured
up images of attacking a woolly mammoth for food and looking around
to make sure I was safe from any saber toothed cats. Hmmm, a McMammoth
burger? Now you really can't super size it any more than that.
Lake really is an unnamed lake as are most of the terrain features
in and around Kutuk Pass. Folly is an adopted name that the locals
Clive Cussler, and
Crown Royal. Life's good.
the total population for 2002 was probably only us six. Not counting
the pilots that flew us in and out.
view on Kutuk Pass
Pass is located at 3,500 feet and lies on the Continental Divide.
The pass itself is nothing more than a flat grassy area. There's
really not a discernible knoll or hill to tell exactly where the
division occurs that directs the water flow north to the Arctic
Ocean or south to the Pacific Ocean.
morning as we sat around camp enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee and
slowly working the kinks out from sleeping on the ground. We began
talking about the beautiful mountains, lakes, and streams around us
that were all unnamed. This has been partially corrected (well at
least among the 6 of us).
ye, hear ye, hear ye, let it be known that from this day forward the
tallest mountain (at 6,200 ft.) that stands to the SW of Folly Lake
will from this day forward be known as "3 John Peak." This is of course,
named for the fact that half of the campers on our trip are named
John. The US government may not recognize this as a real name but
for the 6 of us it will always be remembered as 3 John Peak. We then
tried to name the creek Betsy Creek and she said enough. Stop! You
only get to name one terrain feature. So there you have it. Tip -
If you buy a USGS topological map you will probably need to pencil
in the name.
days and short nights. The late August sun set about 11:30 PM and
it was still fairly light even at 3:00 AM, all though this was partially
due to a full moon. Even though most days were fairly pleasant it
got pretty darn cold at night. I found myself wearing long underwear,
an extra fleece layer, a wool hat, and socks to bed each night. Okay
I'm warm and toasty in bed and BOOM. Mother Nature calls. Aw Ma I
don't wanna get up its cold outside. Rats, you can't say wrong number
when she calls. So I crawl out of my sleeping bag, put on some shoes,
and meander outside. I'm standing there "doing my thing" when I hear
Jonathan say, "wolf." Where? On the beach. I look down and maybe a
couple hundred feet away is a lone light gray wolf. Wow, thanks Mom
for waking me up, and thanks Jonathan for being awake and alert. I
just saw a wolf in the wild. Cool. Really cool.
were really, REALLY lucky with the weather. We had 4 days of almost
perfect sunny days, 2 days of kinda gray, partial sun, and one day
of total crap. It rained and or snowed for nearly 24 hours. It was
plain ol' yucky. I'm not complaining! Not even a little bit. I think
we were truly blessed. While the weather in the arctic is unpredictable
there is one thing that you can count on, the wind. There again
we were fortunate. Yes, the wind blew everyday but we didn't really
have a "BAD" windy day. It was always there and it was more than
I was use to but it was manageable.
the bad weather day we awoke to dense low clouds and a heavy frost.
By mid morning it slowly began to burn off, and as the sun burned
through a rainbow formed over the south creek with a promise of
good things to come.
rainbow formed over the south creek with a promise of good things
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