After a brief weather delay in Kotzebue, we flew out to the sand dunes at Kobuk Valley National Park. The weather was bad at first, and we had to set up our tents in the wind and rain, but then clear. It seemed the weather changed by the hour up there.
Camp was great and the company was great. We had our guide, Jenna, Dale and Janet from Ohio and Rainer and Marianne from Switzerland. Jenna’s cooking was phenominal and everybody was up for hiking and exploring the area. We set up a base camp, and did day hikes from there. Our first hike that evening was short and rainy, but the next day we had some wonderful weather. We hiked for many hours around the dunes, which cover 25 square miles, like the Sahara, but in Alaska.
While out on our hike, the SOS signal went off on the point locator in Jenna’s backpack. Planes started to fly over head, and an Alaska state trooper actually landed his small plane out on the dunes to make sure we were okay. I have to admit, it was a little scary because we didn’t know what was going on at the time, all we could see was that this plane was circling us for no apparent reason. All seemed to be well, and the trooper flew off leaving just the 6 of us and three more people at another location being the only 9 people in the entire park.
We camped for our second night, hopeful that the plane would come get us the next morning. Well, more bad weather came in. It never cleared where we were going, and didn’t clear at the dunes until late in the afternoon. We had spend an extra night there, but took the opportunity to do some more hiking. We even saw some very nice rainbows from all the rain we were getting as things cleared up.
Things cleared up very nicely on the third night, and I decided to stay up to watch the midnight sun. It actually set around 11:50 PM, just shy of midnight, but I still got to watch an amazing sunset at midnight up in the arctic.
On day 4, we were ready to move on to our next destination, Gates of the Arctic National Park.