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

Day 3 – July 12, 2017 – Waking up in the western arctic

We are shivering as we crawl out of our tents, with the temperature at 6 degrees Celsius and wind and rain whipping around us. We are greeted by a view of the majestic mountains around Duo Lake. May, the oldest of our Gwich’in team members, tells us about the Wind River, two valleys away, which she paddled down 15 years ago. Her father grew up here, in the traditional homeland of the Gwich’in. After we organize our camp, we explore the 2-kilometer-long portage through dwarf birch trees and swampland which we will have to cross with all of our equipment in a few days. Johannes and Keefer successfully catch our dinner on the Snake River: a wonderfully tasty arctic meal. It is midnight when the heavens clear and the sun slowly disappears behind the mountains.

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