Kobuk Valley National Park, Day 3

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Sunday, July 3, 2011

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About two-thirds of the dunes are on the same side of the creek as our camp.  We explored them for a few hours the first day we arrived but the dunes cover several square miles and we had seen very little of them so decided to explore them further today.

We made a big loop through the dune field by hiking across them, following the edge, eventually hiking into the middle of the dunes and then heading back toward camp.  This loop took us around six hours. 

As we walked along the edge of the dunes we started to see a lot of wolf tracks.  We eventually spotted one near the edge of the trees.  Looking around with binoculars, we saw lots of wolf dens near where we saw the wolf.  We decided not to bother them and stayed on the dunes.

As we were walking through a somewhat vegetated area near the edge of the dunes two wolves suddenly appeared in front of us.  They seemed as startled as we were.  We probably caught them napping.  As they were retreating one of them barked at us, which wasn't something we were expecting.

We had some Semipalmated Plovers do the same strange dance we previously saw demonstrated by a ptarmigan where they're run around with their winds held away from their body.  We assumed that meant their nest was nearby but we were never able to find one.

Even though this is our third day here, this place still seems surreal.  Dunes in the middle of the arctic, with streams alongside them in most directions and surrounded by taiga and tundra just isn't a combination that you expect to find.  Adding to the weirdness is the fact that due to the time of year and our location above the Arctic Circle the sun is up 24 hours a day so instead of the sun following its usual arc across the sky it just goes in circles.  It goes higher in the middle of the day and lower at midnight but it's always visible.  This is a very strange place.
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