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The Sacred Place of Life’s Beginning

The Sacred Place of Life’s Beginning

Brennan Lagasse: words and images

A skier and conservationist seeks answers from the local Indigenous Community when drilling is imminent on the jagged horizon in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Brooks Range cuts a arc through the sacred land of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This range includes the headwaters for the Hulahula River. 

The bush pilot inspected our gear.

We were aware that we were heavy given the equipment required for an Arctic expedition. The ice axes, however, were left out. It’s protocol with most aircrafts to pack the sharps individually. I thought it was more dangerous to have them look like extra, non-essential gear rather than poke someone inside the plane. The weight allotment and cargo room are crucial to any Arctic expedition. I doubt the pilot cared that our ski boots were “super” light. 

He stopped at the skis. 

“So, you think you’re going skiing?” 

Smiling, I replied, “As long as we can fit the gear.”

We did. None of the 13 trips I’ve done over the past 10-plus years to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have been focused on skiing. It’s always a part of the dream. The main goal is…

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