South to Independence Creek
Deering Travel Blog› entry 24 of 38 › view all entries
Crossing the rugged hills just south of the Kobuk river valley, Matt and I scanned the creeks and drainages for both wildlife and the eighteen-year-old Eskimo girl. She went missing while walking from Selawik to another small village, Norvik, just over twenty miles apart on the flat tundra of the Kotzebue Basin. That was in June. More than a month later while speaking to an elder in Kiana, I was told that she had never been found. He figured that she was somewhere higher in the hills though a direct line between the villages just skirted them. We saw no sign of the blue jacket that she wore.
We crossed the arctic circle, southbound, while edging around the eastern shore of the massive Selawik Lake. No need to fly over water if we didn't have to.
The eastern side of the Seward Peninsula was mile after mile of rolling hills of barren tundra. Finally, we intercepted Independence Creek and followed it to the camp. I never realized just how remote the site was; truly in the middle of nowhere! The camp looked much different than in June. Willows and alders had blossomed in what appeared an attempt to reclaim the old mining site.
While Matt went to investigate the fuel situation, I ran an orange extension cord to bring power to the 'gypsy wagon' hut that we would bunk in for the remainder of the month. The gypsy wagon had no wheels but skids upon which it was dragged to the site on winter's ice some decades ago.