GUIDED ALASKA Base Camp

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VIEW AVAILABLE TRIPS Camping in Alaska does not have to be a high adrenaline adventure. A base camp trips allow you to settle into this wilderness landscape. Enjoy bird watching, wilderness photography, or witness the incredible caribou migrations. Alaska wildlife photography and bird watching tours aren't just for professional photographers, Arctic Wild base camp trips are also great for family wilderness vacations or anyone wanting to experience true wilderness. In addition to our scheduled trips we lead a wide variety of base camp trips every year, activities can range from dog-sledding, to wildlife viewing, to hiking or fishing. A base camp allows you lots of time to devote to your passion. What to Expect on a Camping Adventure We plan our base camp tours around wildlife migrations and activities. Our base camp trips offer unparalleled opportunities for wildlife photographers and naturalists to spend time with the arctic's fascinating animals. Your Arctic Wild guide will set up a comfortable camp with abundant, good food and drink and lead daily hiking trips, offer suggestions and insight, or just let you relax in peace. Alaska bird watching can't be beat with seabirds and terrestrial birds (depending on location) including Asian migrants rarely seen in North America. The Brooks Range and the untamed Alaska wilderness is your home for the week, enjoy! Preparing for a Base Camp Trip. Everyone from young children to octogenarians will enjoy our base camp trips, and no physical training is needed. We are happy to advise on specialized equipment needed for wilderness photography in the arctic. Our years of Alaska bird watching experience will help you prepare or decide which trip is offers the best arctic birding opportunities for your interests. A reading list can be provided for each trip tailored to your interest whether general natural history, wildlife photography, arctic bird watching, or northern cultures.

Gates of the Arctic Base Camp

Enjoy the wild landscape of the central Brooks Range in Gates of the Arctic National Park with us this summer. Camp by a deep blue lake, hike the tundra mountains, watch for arctic wildlife, explore ancient Eskimo sites, and enjoy fishing in the nation’s northern most National Park.

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DATES

August 23, 2020 - August 27, 2020
region

REGION

Gates of the Arctic National Park
price

TRIP COST

$5,200/ person

TRIP DETAILS

Gates of the Arctic is the “crown jewel” of America’s National Park system. With 19 million acres of sprawling and undeveloped wild land in the central Brooks Range, it is a wilderness like no other. With no constructed trails, no campgrounds, and no visitor services of any kind, Gates of the Arctic is the perfect place for wilderness exploration and solitude. One of our favorite places in the Park is near the continental divide on the shores of an enormous lake surrounded by mountains and tundra as far as the eye can see.

Camping at Agiak Lake is sublime. Views across the lake into the peaks of the Brooks Range change hour by hour with the light and the weather. Days will be spent hiking through the varied landscape. There are peaks to climb, glacial cirques to explore, and broad valleys to wander. Adventures abound.

One of our favorite routes follows the edge of the lake and up a side creek to the east. As we ascend, the valley narrows into a canyon, often full of animal sign. A caribou trail leads over a low pass from which we can survey the entire area, with broad valleys, small ice fields, clear creeks and the broad lake all surrounded by the rugged and rocky peaks. From the high point of the hike, we can make our way back to camp stopping at several archaeological sites along the way, marveling at the ingenuity and fortitude required to thrive in the Arctic hundreds of years ago.

Arctic Grayling and Lake Trout are abundant in Agiak Lake and we are happy to help you learn to fish and to cook them for dinner if you are successful. Both spinning gear and fly rods are appropriate and this is a great place to learn to fish.

The area is rich in history. There are several Inupiat Eskimo archaeological sites to examine a short walk from our camp and numerous stone fences once used to herd caribou into the lake. The National Park Service has studied the area and has even conducted a few underwater digs in the lake which yielded fragments of skin parkas and sections of kayaks.

We never know exactly what wildlife we may encounter on a trip, but caribou frequent the area in August, feeding on the rich green tundra in small bands. It is also a great place to watch bears grazing the flats or eating berries on the slopes. We may also see wolves, red fox, moose and a great variety of other furred and feathered creatures during our time in the mountains. The serendipity is part of what makes encountering wildlife so rewarding. A keen interest and keen eyes are certain to spot a great variety of wildlife.

You need not be a seasoned adventurer to enjoy this trip. Our sturdy base camp and excellent cooking leave you free to enjoy the wilderness and our seasoned guides are on-hand to teach you the skills of living in the remote and sometimes foreboding arctic. With good equipment and a great attitude this will be an adventure never to be forgotten.

ITINERARY

What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.

August 22:

Meet your guide(s) for a pre-trip meeting at Arctic Wild headquarters in Fairbanks.

August 23:

You’ll be picked up early at your hotel in Fairbanks and shuttled to the airport where we’ll catch a charter flight to the bush village of Bettles in the southern foothills of the Brooks Range. From there we’ll load our gear into a small float plane for the hour long flight across the mountains to Agiak Lake. Once there we’ll set up a comfortable camp on the tundra next to the lake before heading out to explore.

August 24- 25:

Each day in the backcountry brings something different. Some days we will take day hikes to explore the glacial cirques, nearby alpine lakes, or wander the high ridges. Other days we may stick closer to camp, allowing the opportunity to fish, search for wildlife, or simply enjoy the solitude and quiet.

August 26:

Weather permitting, we’ll say a final goodbye to Agiak Lake and the Brooks Range before boarding the float plane for the trip back to Bettles and on home to Fairbanks. If the weather cooperates and all goes as planned we’ll arrive back in Fairbanks in time for dinner and well-deserved showers.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Transportation beyond Fairbanks, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, safety & repair gear and professional guide service.

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Lodging, non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, camera equipment. fishing gear, and fishing license. Gratuity for guide(s). Rental equipment is available through Arctic Wild. See full equipment list.

WEATHER & BUGS

Temperatures vary from the 60’s to below freezing. Snow is possible; rain is likely. As summer turns to fall we can expect a wide variety of weather. With the warm weather behind us we don’t expect many bugs but bring a small bottle of DEET just in case.

RECOMMENDED READING

 Ordinary Wolves, Seth Kantner; Alaska Wilderness, Robert Marshall; Last Light Breaking, Nick Jans; Arctic Wild, Lois Crisler. More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.