Posted on May 07, 2015 under Conservation, General, Natural History
Spring at the Top of the World
Eiders migrate past Barrow Alaska

I spent the last week, the last week of April, working on the frozen Chukchi Sea, helping train a group of scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society who are studying eider ducks.   Their goal is to count the hundreds of thousands of King and Common Eiders that migrate past Barrow each spring to update the…

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Posted on February 19, 2015 under General, Trip Reports
Winter Filming in Alaska
winter tent in Alaska

As the late-morning sun shone golden light on the tops of snow-covered spruce trees, the silence of the boreal forest was interrupted by my startled yelp and curse as I “burned” my hand, ungloved for a moment, on the axe head. Skin sizzles audibly on contact with metal at -45 F. Arctic Wild has long…

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Posted on January 17, 2015 under General
Same Great Trips- Great New Website
New Website for Arctic Wild

We have launched a new and improved website and we are very proud of it. The new site shows off beautiful photos taken on our trips and hopefully makes it easier for you to find out about our trips. Like a great trip, a great website requires meticulous attention to detail and many hours of work and preparation….

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Posted on December 19, 2014 under General, Photography, Trip Reports
Alaska Walrus- Trip Report
Alaska Walrus

After all of my years guiding in the most remote, beautiful, wild places, I had still never seen a walrus until last summer. It takes a concerted effort and hours flying to see walrus, but it is absolutely worth it. After searching for the ideal location to observe and photograph Pacific walrus we have found a…

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Posted on September 29, 2014 under Conservation, General, Trip Reports
Why travel to the Arctic?

Why do we take people to the Arctic? This summer we guided a group from the Sierra Club including the Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune on the Aichilik River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This video, made from their trip, perfectly captures why we love sharing the Arctic.

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Posted on April 30, 2014 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Training for your Alaska Backpacking Trip

You need not be an Olympian to join and enjoy one of Arctic Wild’s backpacking trips, but you will have lots more fun if you do some training and strengthening before your trip. The thing that sets an Alaska backpacking trip apart is the lack of constructed trails. You will be hiking on river bars…

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Posted on April 10, 2014 under Conservation, General, Natural History
Kasegaluk Lagoon

    On the very edge of the earth, where the coastal tundra melts into the Chukchi Sea in a watery tangle of streams, bays, lakes and lagoons is a world of austere beauty, vibrant with life. Kasegaluk Lagoon is rich beyond compare in Arctic Alaska. The long list of descriptors for the area only…

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Posted on March 28, 2014 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Best Boats for Fly-in River Trips in Alaska

Alaska has over 3,000 rivers, most of which are not accessible from the road. If you want to canoe or raft these rivers, chances are you’re going to need a boat that fits into an airplane. So what is the best boat for an Alaska fly-in river? After decades of running northern Alaska’s rivers here…

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Posted on March 17, 2014 under General, Photography, Trip Planning Resources
Photographers, Take Note!

    Arctic Wild is offering two trips geared specifically for photographers this summer. If you’ve been hankering to take your camera to the arctic, and/or hone your technical skills you have your pick from two trips this summer, one in Gates of the Arctic National Park, and one in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge….

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Posted on January 10, 2014 under General
What is in a name?

My new favorite book is one I’ve wanted for a long time, the Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Alaska place names range from practical to whimsical, and almost always tell a story. I’ve learned a little bit about some of the places where we spend time in the arctic… Kasegaluk Lagoon– from Inupiat “Kasegelik” meaning…

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Posted on November 14, 2013 under General, Photography, Trip Reports
Kelly River Evening

This is re-posted from our guide David Shaw’s blog Wild Imagination Journal It was August 30. Though that is still summer in much of the country, in northern Alaska, autumn was in full swing. I was guiding my final trip of the season, a week-long canoe trip down the Kelly River. The Kelly is a…

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Posted on November 07, 2013 under General, Trip Reports
Caribou in the Western Brooks Range

I really had no intention of walking right into the middle of the herd. There was no stalk, no stealth and I didn’t even have my camera. Then, much to my surprise, and to theirs, we were all standing on top of the ridge together, sunshine glittering off the thin snow and frozen tussocks. I…

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Posted on October 10, 2013 under General, Trip Reports
Family Rafting

What does a river guide do when Arctic Wild’s busiest summer ever comes to an end? Dinner and a movie? No. Luxurious hotel and spa? Nope. He goes rafting with his family of course. Just as soon as Arctic Wild’s last trip of the summer wrapped up in mid-September, We (Michael, Sally and our two…

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Posted on June 02, 2013 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Flying with Alaska’s Best Pilots

Most of Alaska is roadless wilderness. We love it that way, but it does make it difficult to get around. Fortunately there are some wonderful pilots with capable aircraft which allow us to travel widely throughout Alaska’s great wilderness. If you are joining one of our guided wilderness trips in Alaska, we will take care…

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Posted on May 15, 2013 under General, Trip Planning Resources
3 Tips for Safe Flying in Alaska

We spend much of our summer loading and unloading “bush planes” for trips into the most remote portions of Alaska. If you are joining one of our guided wilderness trips in Alaska, we will take care of arranging safe and efficient flights for you. If you choose to do a trip on your own, here…

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Posted on May 06, 2013 under General, Photography, Trip Reports
Shopping for Porcupine

Ok, so I ripped off the title for this trip report from Seth Kantner’s excellent book of essays about growing up in the “bush” in the Northwest Arctic. But I think he’d be ok with it since we guided this trip together, and we were in fact, shopping for porcupine. Let me explain; German cinematographer…

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Posted on April 30, 2013 under General, Trip Reports
Winter Camping in the Brooks Range

Spring is late this year across Alaska, and our Gates of the Arctic Base Camp Adventure got to experience full winter conditions in the Arctic. Strong winds and sub-zero temperatures didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of our party as we explored the area around Itkillik Lake last week. With woodstove-heated tents, a well provisioned kitchen and…

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Posted on April 05, 2013 under General, Natural History
Snowy Owls

It has been a couple of years since I last saw a snowy owl and I miss being startled by a distant white object, I’ve taken for a snow patch suddenly taking wing and gliding low over the tundra. Snowy Owls are arcticophiles and I enjoy the years when they seem abundant across northern Alaska….

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Posted on March 14, 2013 under General
Spring winds blow

The north wind is blowing here today. It feels like the last of winter moving out, making room for spring and all of its mossy green moisture and bird chatter. We are heading up to the Brooks Range earlier than usual this year. We are supporting a film project in Cape Krusenstern in mid-April and…

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Posted on March 11, 2013 under General
40 Years of Guiding in Alaska’s Arctic – Ron Yarnell

Ron Yarnell started guiding in the Brooks Range before Gates of the Arctic National Park was created, before the Dalton Highway (Haul Road) was built, and long before anyone outside of Alaska’s arctic-slope had even heard of places like the Kongakut. We are privileged to have Ron as one of our lead guides and his…

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Posted on February 11, 2013 under General
Planting a tree

It seems like more and more often people have been emailing or calling and prefacing their inquiry about a trip with “you know I’m in my late 60s…” or “I’d love to join your trip but I’m 78 years old..” Obviously wilderness travel is not for everyone and I want to be clear with people about…

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Posted on February 08, 2013 under General, Natural History
Arctic Terns

On my recent trip to the Antarctic Peninsula I was fortunate to see an old friend. It is always a pleasure to see other Alaskans traveling the world, and seeing these Arctic Terns in the southern hemisphere was a highlight of the trip. Like most naturalists in Alaska, I admire Arctic Terns for their tenacious…

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Posted on February 05, 2013 under General, Trip Reports
Back from Antarctica

Bill and I spent most of January guiding in Antarctica. It is great to be back home but we had a fantastic trip to the Antarctic Peninsula working for Cheeseman Ecology Safari. One of the highlights for me was seeing an Arctic Tern. I’m humbled to think of those little birds flying from Alaska’s tundra…

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Posted on January 12, 2013 under General
The Antarctic

Michael and Bill, both serving as guides this January on a Cheeseman’s Ecology Safari cruise in Antarctica, have crossed the Drake Passage and arrived on the Antarctic Peninsula. Communication is spotty, so I can only guess that their days are filled with gauging the weather and watching penguins and leopard seals. I am managing the…

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Posted on December 21, 2012 under General
Cold Snap

    There is nothing like a late December cold snap when the thermometer bottoms-out and even the sun is too cold to rise. Today is the solstice, when we turn towards the warming sun,  but in places like Fort Yukon where the temperature is currently -53 F, the longer days won’t bring respite for…

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Posted on December 19, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources, Trip Reports
Alaska Winter Adventure Trip

Alaskans are a devious bunch. We do everything we can to tell the world about how terribly cold and miserable winter in Alaska is. We brag about the -50 temperatures in the Interior, the howling winds on the North Slope and the 30+ feet of snow that fell last winter on the coast. But what…

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Posted on December 14, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Arctic Wild Bookstore

Preparing for a trip to Alaska can be a very enjoyable part of the journey. I especially like reading about the natural and human history of the area before I go. Your guide is sure to be a wealth of information, but try as we may, we don’t know all there is to know about…

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Posted on December 11, 2012 under Conservation, General
Alaska Conservation

I was recently asked where I would suggest donating money to further conservation in Alaska. I had some ideas, but I decided to ask several professional conservationist about where they thought conservation dollars might be best spent. Acknowledging that conservation is a multi-faceted issue, there was agreement that funding a variety of approaches was important. There was…

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Posted on November 29, 2012 under General, Trip Reports
Walrus Viewing in Alaska

We are very excited by our newest wildlife focused trip. Next July we plan on visiting the Alaska Peninsula to view and photograph Pacific Walrus in one of the most reliable haul-outs in Alaska. Just getting to this far flung beach on the Bering Sea coast will be an adventure, and once we set-up our…

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Posted on November 21, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
The truth about mosquitoes in Alaska

People in Alaska talk about mosquitoes the way they talk about the weather. They ask, “how were the bugs?” when you get back from a camping trip, because the truth is, whether or not they were present, and at what level can really make or break a trip. I’ve been in some bad bugs. The…

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Posted on November 15, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Puffy Jackets

Northern Alaska is one of the few places where the term “Summer Parka” is not an oxymoron. Both Inupiaq and Yupik Eskimo languages have a word for Summer Parka. While most of our nation swelters in July and August, we on the arctic coast sit snug in our puffy jackets. But which puffy parka is best…

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Posted on November 06, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Alaska Maps

It wasn’t long ago that I had 3 milk crates under my desk and every time I wanted to research a new route or look up the distance of a river trip I would have to dig through the box, then ending up with maps spread all over on the floor. I do love my…

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Posted on October 25, 2012 under General, Natural History, Trip Planning Resources
Alaska’s Land of Extremes

  I just purchased 14 books. Not 14 different books but 14 copies of the same book and it wasn’t even a mistake. University of Chicago Press just released “Land of Extremes” by Alex Huryn and John Hobbie, and I wanted copies for all our guides and for our trip libraries too. It won’t be…

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Posted on October 22, 2012 under General
Camping with the Bears of Katmai

The Alaska sun beat down on us as we sat in the waist deep grass watching a 1000 pound coastal brown bear graze in Katmai National Park. Behind this heavily furred bear we could see glacier covered volcanoes stretching to the horizon. Behind us, the usually rough Gulf of Alaska lapped gently on the cobble…

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Posted on October 17, 2012 under General
Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic

  By Dan Ritzman Many years ago I was sitting at Caribou Pass on the Kongukut River, in the Northeast corner of Alaska, hoping that I might see some caribou. I was not alone. along with the guests that I had on my trip there was a professional photographer Gary Braasch, who was also there waiting….

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Posted on October 09, 2012 under Conservation, General
The Brooks Range Council

There is a two hundred and twenty mile road proposed to cross the tundra of the western Brooks Range, and it will take a half a billion dollars to build it. The currently roadless Gates of the Arctic National Park will no longer be roadless. One hundred and sixty-one currently free-flowing rivers will be compromised….

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Posted on September 17, 2012 under General
2013 Trip Schedule

2013 Trip Schedule is available online Today marks a change of season for Arctic Wild. If the weather in Katmai cooperates, our last trip of the season will end this afternoon. With a wonderful 2012 season nearly behind us, we are already looking forward to next summer’s trips and have posted the 2013 trip schedule…

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Posted on May 03, 2012 under General, Natural History, Trip Planning Resources
Traveling in Bear Country

BearWise Training April 26 & 27, 2012 By Ron Yarnell With more than 40 years of guiding experience in grizzly country, I know a thing or two about bears, so when Marin Kuizenga, with Polar Field Services Inc, said she had room for three Arctic Wild guides in a bear safety workshop, I was a…

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