Posted on April 30, 2012 under General
Drilling in the Arctic Ocean- Not Worth the Risk

This Op-ed was originally published in the Alaska Dispatch By Michael Wald, co-owner and guide. This winter as Shell Oil readied for the first-ever drilling season in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, we in the north have been holding our breaths. While politicians and pundits have been blaming the price at the pump for all that ails…

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Posted on April 05, 2012 under General, Natural History
Spring is for the Birds

By Michael Wald Co-Owner and Guide The first day of spring can be measured in many different ways. We are a full 2 weeks into spring today, if we use the astronomical measure of the equinox.  After 30 feet of snowfall this winter here in Haines, Alaska, we may be half-way into summer before the…

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Posted on March 29, 2012 under General, Trip Reports
Why I Love the Kongakut River

By Michael Wald Co-Owner and Guide The Kongakut River in northeastern Alaska is one of my favorite rafting trips of all time. Most trips on the Kongakut River, and there are quite a few, are on the upper canyon section in June. The Kongakut that I love is the part that sees very few people…

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Posted on March 18, 2012 under General, Natural History
Bear Safety

Another study was released last week showing that common sense and knowledge of animal behavior are more important in avoiding injury from bears than are firearms. As an Alaska guide service that has taught hundreds of people appropriate behavior in Bear Country we are glad to see data supporting our belief that keeping your eyes…

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Posted on March 17, 2012 under General, Natural History
Woolly-Bear Caterpillar

By Dan Ritzman- Arctic Wild Guide, Conservation Leader and Lover of Caterpillars. I have spent a good part of the last 2 decades talking to people about what makes the Arctic great. I have given hundreds of lectures, and toured any number of decision makers and media types around the Arctic and I always endeavor…

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Posted on February 27, 2012 under General
Drilling in the Arctic Refuge is not the answer.

By Dan Ritzman, Alaska program director for the Sierra Club’s Resilient Habitats Campaign and guide for Arctic Wild. Just one day after a drilling well explosion on Alaska’s North Slope, the House of Representatives voted to open 1.5 million acres of the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Unable to find…

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Posted on February 23, 2012 under General, Natural History
Little Bird- Big Migration

I love arctic Alaska, but there is a bird in the news that displays unmatched devotion to the tundra. The northern wheatear looks like a cross between a robin and a shrike, and we see them on high rocky ridges throughout the Brooks Range. Their distinctive call and undulating flight are nearly ubiquitous in the…

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Posted on February 20, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Group Shelters for Alaska Camping

“Cook tents” or “group shelters” form the center of our camps. In the Arctic and the Aleutians, a place to get out of the weather is critical and these big tents make a good place to eat, cook, and relax. Pyramid style tents are versatile and quick to set-up, but if the weather is really…

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Posted on February 15, 2012 under General
Alaska Adventurer Passes on

Ken Quade died this October in his home state of Wisconsin. But I’d bet his heart was still in Alaska. The first Brooks Range trip I ever guided was a backpacking trip in the Arctic Refuge and it was just Ken and I. At 73 he wasn’t real fast, but as a new guide I…

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Posted on February 13, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Arctic Reading

Adventure vicariously with these great arctic books by Michael Engelhard The days are getting longer but snowdrifts still cover the environs of my hometown, Nome. There is plenty of time to curl up on the couch with a good book, dreaming of next summer’s trips. I’ve put together a short list of materials that allows…

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Posted on February 11, 2012 under General, Photography, Trip Reports
Arctic Wild Presents:

I had the wrong dates in my previous posting. Here are the correct dates for the Washington State Slideshows. -MW February 27th, Seattle, WA Unexplored Alaska The Sierra Club has invited us to come to Seattle and give a presentation about exploring the Western Brooks Range. Come see pictures of the least visited part of…

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Posted on February 10, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Best Tents for Alaska Camping

What is the best tent for an Alaska camping trip? The answer depends upon many factors but after decades of wilderness trips around Alaska here are some of our favorites. Sleeping tents: Our criteria for a perfect tent is that it must be durable, wind-worthy, warm, easy to set up, and have a good weight…

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Posted on February 08, 2012 under General, Photography, Trip Reports
Arctic Wild Presents:

February 27th, Seattle, WA Unexplored Alaska The Sierra Club has invited us to come to Seattle and give a presentation about exploring the Western Brooks Range. Come see pictures of the least visited part of Alaska and learn about the natural history and conservation of the area. Great pictures. Wild stories. Don’t miss it. For…

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Posted on February 07, 2012 under General, Trip Reports
Bears of the Katmai Coast

Katmai Bears– Trip Report by Michael Wald Bears of the Katmai Coast July 6- 10 , 2012 Katmai National Park in southwest Alaska has some of the biggest brown bears in Alaska, and with rich salmon streams, sedge meadows and clam beds to feed the bruins, Katmai has more bears than almost any other place…

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Posted on January 30, 2012 under General, Trip Reports
Kaktovik Whales

A VERY SPECIAL DAY IN KAKTOVIK by Moe Witschard   This past September, after guiding my final Arctic Wild trip of the season, I found myself at the Okpilak/ Hulahula Delta with two friends, getting picked up from an 11 day personal trip.  We were met by our Inupiat friend Eddie, who gave us a…

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Posted on January 20, 2012 under General, Trip Planning Resources
Alaska Wilderness Cooking

Cooking in the Backcountry- Bill Mohrwinkel Arctic Wild leads trips across Alaska and in all sorts of weather. But one thing all our trips have in common (other than great guides) is quality, nutritious food. Whether backpacking, rafting, or canoeing, you typically burn many more calories than in your normal day-to-day life. Food is fuel…

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Posted on January 13, 2012 under General
Arctic Wild Tours the West Coast in February.

I will be giving a series of slideshows in both California and Washington during the second half of February 2012. I plan on featuring an exploratory trip in the headwaters of the Colville River from 2010. In telling the story of that great trip, I’ll cover natural history of the area, conservation, and also talk…

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Posted on January 09, 2012 under General
Iditarod Tour

Our friend and guide Laurent Dick will be leading a trip to Nome this spring. There are just a couple spots left, so contact him soon if you want to be part of the action. Laurent is a wealth of knowledge and Nome is a beautiful place.  

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Posted on January 04, 2012 under General, Photography, Trip Reports
Best of 2011

Happy New Year. Our best photos of 2011 can be seen in a short slideshow below. We had a wonderful year exploring Alaska’s great wilderness and are looking forward to another summer of adventure. Contact us to start planning your trip in 2012. [youtube]http://youtu.be/OdBjikUuEbE[/youtube] If you would like a DVD of the slideshow, let me…

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Posted on December 28, 2011 under General
Hank the dog- January, 2003- December 25, 2011

For the past 9 years I have had the good fortune to have a wonderful dog with me on many adventures. Hank died on Christmas Day, and though I’ve never seen an obituary for a dog, He deserves one. We got Hank as a puppy, from the shelter in Fairbanks and within a couple of…

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Posted on December 12, 2011 under General, Trip Reports
Aleutian Hot Spring Adventure

In July 2011, a fun-loving group of friends hired Arctic Wild to guide them on a wild and far-flung adventure in the eastern Aleutians. We spent a week camping on a remote beach; from our base camp we explored the steep and lush mountains, walked the beaches, fished the creek and, of course, soaked in…

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Posted on December 03, 2011 under General, Photography
Evening Light in Gates of the Arctic

One of the remarkable things about camping in the arctic is the long evening light with rich colors and long shadows. Where else can you watch the sunset for 3 hours, only to watch it begin rising again immediately? Early August is a time between the explosion of spring flowers, and the yellows and reds…

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Posted on December 02, 2011 under General, Photography
Polar Bears in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The fog hangs thick along the arctic coast. The flat light and the flatter landscape make it difficult to identify objects. You can find yourself wondering….Is that a giant driftwood stump a mile away or an eider duck at 200 yards? It is disconcerting when you can’t trust your eyes. Whenever I find bear tracks…

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Posted on November 29, 2011 under General, Photography
Arctic Spring in the Western Brooks Range

I’ll admit that I’m biased towards this photo. I took it on an exploratory custom trip in the headwaters of the Colville River a couple years ago. Perhaps it is a good picture in its own right, but for me it is also infused with the thrill of an unknown river, the excitement of early…

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Posted on November 28, 2011 under General, Photography
Katmai National Park Photos

If caribou are a fitting icon for the arctic, then Brown Bears are certainly the symbol for Katmai National Park. Katmai has some of the highest densities and largest bears in the world. We offer a couple of trips in Katmai each summer, including a base camp trip on Katmai’s pacific coast and a canoe…

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Posted on November 27, 2011 under General
Caribou Photos- Arctic Alaska

What could be more iconic than caribou swimming an arctic river? Here are a couple of images from Dave Shaw and Cameron Baird respectively. Dave’s image at top is from the Noatak River in Gates of the Arctic National Park taken this August. Cameron’s photo is from the Kongakut River in the Arctic National Wildlife…

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Posted on November 25, 2011 under General
The Arctic Coast- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Happy Thanksgiving! Here is another great photograph by Moe Witschard.  I love the sense of motion, and how the milling herd makes the arctic coast seem beautiful and mysterious rather than cold and damp. (It is all of those things.) Moe took this photo while guiding a family on a Mission: Caribou trip, specifically designed…

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Posted on November 23, 2011 under General
Arctic Sand Dunes- Kobuk Valley National Park

The inspiration for these daily photo posts comes from my good friend Laurent Dick in Juneau and his blog “Alaska 365“. He hopes to guide some of our photography- base camp trips next summer, adding another excellent photographer to our ranks. Today’s photograph was taken by Moe Witschard while guiding a custom trip to the…

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Posted on November 22, 2011 under General
Alaska Photography

Arctic Wild guides…are an exceptional group of people. Not only do they have outstanding wilderness and people skills, but many of them are accomplished photographers too. Over the years, they have given us some beautiful images. We have outstanding photographs of everything from caribou swimming the Kongakut to Bears Katmai National Park. With 5 feet…

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Posted on November 14, 2011 under General
Last Chance for the Arctic Refuge

Today is the last day that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be accepting comments on their comprehensive plan. Even if you have never been to the arctic, we would encourage you to email the refuge staff in support of additional wilderness. Our comments urged the refuge to designate the famed coastal plain as wilderness….

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Posted on September 23, 2011 under General, Trip Reports
Arctic Immersion

Many of our clients sign-up for combination trips each summer. Usually they join one of our backpacking trips and segue into a canoe or rafting adventure so they can spend some more time in the arctic and cover some more ground. This June one intrepid traveler went whole hog and combined three trips for a…

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Posted on May 30, 2011 under General
Early Bird and Last Minute Deals for trips to Arctic Alaska

We have some great deals for those of you who are still trying to choose the perfect Arctic Wild trip. We are offering two last minutes specials at a 50% discount(!): We have one extra seat in the plane for our Yukon River canoe trip in July. You can join the fun for only $1,150….

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Posted on April 01, 2011 under General
Gray-Headed Chickadee

This June, Arctic Wild will be teaming up with Z-bird Tours for a rafting trip in the Western Brooks Range. The Kugururok River is a great raft trip for many reasons. Our main reason for the trip is to find North America’s hardest to see bird. Recent reports of Gray-headed Chickadees on the Kugururok river,…

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Posted on March 24, 2011 under General
News from the North

There is much to report from Arctic Wild this March. Trips are filling and we are busy getting everything ready. I’ll write about all that soon. But for now, I want to recommend 2 articles from this weeks news, of interest to fellow arctic enthusiasts. Out on the Northwest coast near Kotzebue researchers found scores…

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Posted on February 27, 2011 under General
Mission: Caribou

Mission: Caribou- Trip Report By Moe Witschard- Guide and Photographer www.moephotography.com Flying from Fairbanks in two Heliocouriers, small, but very sturdy bush planes that carried up to 3 people with all our gear, we arrived at the shore of the Beaufort Sea at 70 degrees latitude. We buzzed the area looking for a good camp…

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Posted on February 12, 2011 under General
Bears of the Katmai Coast

Trip Report by Michael Wald, Co-owner and guide. I have to admit that the best trip ideas are rarely mine. Sometimes pilots suggest a new river or point out an area I had never noticed. But very often clients will call me mid-winter and ask me to arrange a custom trip to a new location….

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Posted on February 11, 2011 under General
Winter Rains and Caribou

By Michael Wald Co-Owner and Guide In late November, Alaska was pounded by a memorable storm. A great warm wave of rain swept north across the interior and all the way to the Arctic Coast. Once the rain passed, the temperature returned to a more seasonable -20 F, and in Fairbanks the rain on the…

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Posted on January 26, 2011 under General
Guiding on Mars?

By Michael Wald Co-owner and Guide We don’t actually get to guide anyone on Mars but we have been working with some NASA funded scientist who are studying the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes in Kobuk Valley National Park. Apparently 10% of Mars is covered in sand dunes and scientist think the Kobuk Dunes are a…

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Posted on January 23, 2011 under General
Crossbills

By Co-owner and Guide Michael Wald “What are all those birds?” my 4-year old, nature-geek son asks me as a small noisy cloud of birds descends and lands in the top of a Sitka Spruce. From the trilled call we can tell they are White-winged Crossbills. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time birding…

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