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In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau

Day 15 – July 24, 2017 – Rainbow next to rainbow next to…

It is hard to imagine a better awakening than awakening to a rainbow. And even better when you get to experience this on your birthday! Hans-Joachim is overjoyed. We launch downriver with our boats. Slowly but surely the pace of the current on the Snake increases and the water level rises. We have hardly any problems clearing the large areas of rocks. And the level of fun increases: behind large boulders the waves grow larger and the boats are thoroughly shaken up. So much so, that Lina does a backward summersault before landing in the arms of the Gwich’in Dinah and Angel. She is not the only one engaging in “Interraftjumping” – changing places in the raft during a large wave. We stop at a river mouth. The tributary comes from a huge mountain, which cannot be overlooked with its red glowing color. Kai explains to us that these are some of the largest iron deposits in the world. The mountain range extends for hundreds of kilometers towards the east through the wilderness. The rocks in the tributary also are dark red and heavy, because they are made up of about 70% iron. Unbelievable! Every geologist dreams of seeing something like this. If we are unsuccessful in preventing it, all of this will be mined someday. The largest wilderness area of the earth, a gigantic ecosystem, will become victim to a short-term profit-oriented mining corporation. No. We don’t want that to happen! We stop at pot holes – water holes that were formed by a small canyon that flows into the Snake. It is one of the most beautiful places on the entire trip. A few of us walk over the boulder plateaus to the waterfall, while the rest sit below in the canyon and enjoy the spectacle. What a view: up on top from the waterfall and down below in the canyon. As we slowly leave the mountains and make our way towards Fort McPherson, we see one rainbow after the other. At the end of the evening we have counted seven rainbows. Such a unique sight out here in the Arctic!

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