Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Raging River Crossing

Day 4:  Friday, June 14, 2002

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Rain, snow, sun, river crossings—we had it all today.  The day started off as yesterday ended, with rain.  We didn’t get started till after 11:00.  We headed uphill toward the Jago River.  Following the side of a ridge, the cold wind was blowing and rain was falling horizontally.  Later the rain changed to snow, but it didn’t stick.  We crossed a large tussock field after lunch in “the pod,” and came down to a raging unnamed river, which we had to cross.  There were two difficult strands, which we crossed in boots.  Most boots got quite wet.  We settled on a campsite right at the second crossing, and the sun is shining as I write this (6:45pm) although low clouds are all around.  The sound of the river here will be nice tonight.  Some of the snow-covered high peaks are visible among the low clouds.  Awesome day!


I find myself more relaxed and focused on the present much more than my typical backpack trip.  Not sure if it’s because I am just following a leader, or if I’ve just become more relaxed in the wilderness.  Whatever it is, I like the change!


Between two unnamed rivers




Aufeis are thick layers of ice formed by successive freezing of stream overflows during winter. During breakup, rivers carve vertical walled canyons through aufeis fields that can be more than a mile long. In early summer, it can be dangerous to travel through these areas. By mid to late June, the channels are usually open enough to allow passage. However, aufeis fields can be dangerous any time if river levels rise. Visitors should scout all aufeis fields prior to floating to make sure the river is not flowing under or through tunnels in the ice.


tussock:  a compact tuft especially of grass or sedge; also : an area of raised solid ground in a marsh or bog that is bound together by roots of low vegetation.  Challenging for humans to walk over, you either step on top of the wobbly things are between them (often wet).  Caribou seem to have no trouble moving over tussocks with their heads held high.

Raging River Crossing





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