Dwarf Birch (Betula glandulosa) adds color to the fall tundra with its red leaves and gold catkins.The bark contains methyl salicylate, which can be brewed into a tea for ad hoc help with a headache.
Close view of birch shrub
Noatak National Preserve contains truly wild places like this landscape near Etivlik Lake in the northeast corner of the preserve. Everyone who practices Leave No Trace camping helps to protect this wilderness.
Hiker on tundra with fall colors
Dots on the tundra are actually...... CARIBOU on their southward migration. Hikers are sometimes lucky to see their antlers appear first on the horizon, followed slowly by the rest of the body.
Distant caribou on fall tundra
A lone gull feather in the company of fall cranberries is a sign that these birds don't just live around boat harbors. This photo was taken near Etivlik Lake in the remote wilderness of Noatak National Preserve.
White feather and red berries on tundra
Bright red bearberry leaves are the classic, widespread plant that gives the autumn tundra its pizazz. The leaves have a crinkled surface remeniscent of wrinkled aluminum foil.
Close view of red leaves on tundra
Stark white teeth are a reminder of the life and death cycle of individuals in the Western Arctic Caribou Herd. Caribou are an important prey species for bears, wolves, and humans alike.
White caribou teeth lying on tundra
This is one point of a full set of caribou antlers that is nearly engulfed by the flourishing tundra around it. Left undisturbed for decades past, it may be covered completely in a few decades to come.
Antler almost buried by plant growth