Thanks to the generous support of Joes Sports and Quattra, local celebrity environmentalist and Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame inductee Gary McGuffin is checking in from spots along the way on the latest expedition with the Wilderness River Expedition Art Foundation.
This year's expedition will paddle and explore the Noatak River in Alaska.
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Here are the latest on the spot updates from McGuffin.
A momma grizzly and her cub came right down the hill on the opposite side of the river from the group as McGuffin was setting everyone up for a setting out photo.
Unfortunately the grizzlies were a bit too far across the wide river to catch with a camera, McGuffin said, but it was an exciting send off.
Especially since the duo followed along on shore a bit before heading out into the mountains of the Brookes Range, the source of the clear, cold Noatak River.
The six-member group will be spending the next month on the Noatak River shooting photographs, doing field sketches and paintings and otherwise gathering field materials for studio productions they plan to execute over the coming winter.
They started out on the river a few days after being dropped off by the float planes because they wanted to familiarize themselves with the equipment and the plans for the trip, McGuffin said.
Three expedition members had no wilderness canoeing experience in such an isolated area and the more experienced group members wanted to make sure they were comfortable in the canoes and in the great open expanse of wilderness.
But they soon took to the canoes like ducks to water.
McGuffin said they would be starting the expedition off slow with shorter paddling days and plenty of opportunities for exploring and gathering field reference.
The group planned to spend Saturday on a mountain hike.
They hoped to find dall sheep, maybe some caribou and possibly even a grizzly bear or two.
They knew, at the very least, they would be treated to some stunning vistas and dramatic scenery, McGuffin said.