|Coldfoot restaurant. photo credit: http://www.tripadvisor.com|
|Nathan is an incredible photographer - check out his website at www.nathanlanephotography.com|
|the beautiful Arctic Interagency Visitor Center|
After the presentation we meet Mel and Kelley, world travelers. They generously offer to drive us a few miles up the road to the starting point of our backpacking trip. We leave our bikes locked at the visitor's center, grab our packs and go. They bring us on a small tour of Wiseman and show us a small church built in honor of a native woman who used to live in the area. The outside is a bit ramshackle, but inside it is carefully, and beautifully decorated, warm and cozy. A small gem in the forest. Then they take us up the Nolan road (a mining road) and drop us off in a valley amid tremendous mountains. (Thanks again for the ride!)
We hike along the road for a while finding fresh bear tracks and scat. After a few miles we walk down through some brush and find ourselves in the land of the tussocks. We quickly discover why they are called ankle-breakers. But I love them. The diversity of life and colors found in this vegetation remind me of the underside of tidal rocks I researched on the Maine coast. It's late and cold so we eat dinner and set up the tent.
|our tent on the tussocks|