Mountain rivers born high in the snowfields and Glaciers of the Brooks Range spill onto the arctic Plain. These braided riparian corridors slither through the tundra before dropping into the Beaufort Sea, our trip would follow this water cycle from source to plain in search of the most colorful salmonid on earth, the venerable Dolly Varden. These fish move between ocean and river utilizing the former for fattening up and the latter as nurseries and rearing areas. They power their way upriver sometime in fall making their way to the fast, clear, and cold waters in the mountains to spawn. All the rivers on the arctic plain support runs of different sizes, these fish make up a subsistence and sport fishery as well as a link in the food chain for the ecosystem as a whole. Finding and documenting this run of fish was an iffy proposition at best. After weeks of paddling and searching we found a small spring creek that held the stunning fish we sought.
Traveling from the headwaters to the plain is a journey thru time into a wilderness untouched. As if I was transported back to the last ice age, mans long reach nowhere to be seen, skies exploding with stars and northern lights, great herds of strange beasts dotted a landscape bathed in color from mountain to sea, from sky to tundra.