ALONG THIS STRETCH OF ALASKA HIGHWAY, where it curves between the southern edge of Lhù’ààn Män lake and the rugged peaks of the southwest Yukon, the dust storms can blow so thick that drivers have been forced to pull over. Where the two-lane road crosses A´ąy Chù river, sand drifts across the pavement as if it were snow.
Past the yellow motel in Destruction Bay and down a rutted gravel road, the small bay that once served as a place of respite for migrating birds has shrunk, exposing more parched land.
In Burwash Landing, worn wooden docks are stranded on a mudflat, out of reach of the water that used to lap at their sides.
And in the coldest months, springs that once gurgled far below the surface of the lake have created new soft spots in the ice that make winter travel more dangerous.