So I just got back in from a nice long trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). I drove up to Fairbanks, picked up Bob and Erika, a lovely couple from Florida, and we headed on up the Dalton Highway, almost to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay, where we met our pilot, picked up a raft, and flew in to the headwaters of the Upper Marsh Fork of the Canning River. It was quite an adventure, an their first time in the Refuge, so we all had a great time. I’ll tell you some more about it over the next week. Before we flew in though, we were told about a small herd of MuskOx just north of us, on the Sag river. With some time to kill, and gigabytes on the memory cards, we figured we’d go take some pictures.
We missed the herd at first, and went right by them, but turned around and came back by, a little more watchful this time, and spotted the herd i the brush nearby. We spent a few hours trying to get some images. I was surprised at how hard it was to get decent clean images of the muskox – they seemed to love the willow thickets, and that made it difficult to get images that weren’t too cluttered, and to get a decent open view of an ox.
With a little luck and patience, we got a few images. We also got lots of mosquito bites. Lots. The bugs were fierce in the arctic this year, and every venture outside was a battle. Headnets and Deet ruled the day, and any wind or breeze was welcome, as it would tend to keep bugs at bay, somewhat.
This was the first time any of us had ever even seen a muskox, so it was pretty exciting for everyone. I shot this photo of the bull as he walked from one patch of willow to another. These muskox were pretty tolerant of our approach, and we spent an hour or so taking some photos.