Winter Mushing Adventure

GUIDED ALASKA Base Camp

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Winter Mushing Adventure

DATES

March 18, 2023 - March 23, 2023

REGION

Alaska Range

TRIP COST

$5,700

calendar

DATES

March 18, 2023 - March 23, 2023
region

REGION

Alaska Range
price

TRIP COST

$5,700

Dog sledding is a tradition from the earliest human times in Alaska and the quintessential way to experience winter in the Arctic and Interior. Join us for a week in the wilderness near Fairbanks where you will experience the profound silence of wilderness, the thrill of running a dog team, an abundance of camp craft and the awe of watching the Northern Lights dance above the snowy peaks. Discover why many Alaskans think of March as the best time of year.

TRIP DETAILS

Dog sledding is a way of life in Alaska’s Interior.  Here, dogs are still used to haul wood, water, and people.  This trip is designed to give you a taste of the joys and comforts of traveling along frozen rivers and through mountains by dog sled.  March is the prime time to enjoy winter travel.  The grip of winter relaxes into and deep fluffy snow and dazzlingly bright days.

We spend the first night of the trip at a remote off-grid homestead where the dogs and their phenomenal owners live a hand-hewn lifestyle on the banks of the Tanana River. We will get to know the dogs, acclimate to the cold and enjoy their hospitality.

The following day we travel by combination of dog-team and snow-mobile to our remote camp nested into the birches and overlooking a pond with views of the Alaska Range to the south. A large communal wall tent with a roaring fire and plenty of good food and drink provides a cozy oasis. Sleeping arrangements will be in wood heated “Arctic Oven” tents designed here in Fairbanks specifically for cold weather camping and each tent is outfitted with a wood stove to keep it comfortably warm.

In addition to the aesthetic joys of spring in the Arctic, this trip is an opportunity to learn the skills and lore of winter camping. And, of course, how to mush a team of dogs. Our Alaskan huskies are big-hearted, hard working, friendly animals and their enthusiasm for the snowy landscape is contagious.

We will have a team of enthusiastic dogs at our disposal, allowing you to learn to work with the dogs in a safe and controlled situation. As you gain rapport with the dogs and sled handling skills, we can venture further and further from our camp on our daily forays.  Everyone will get to run the dogs but not everyone will get to run the dogs at the same time. 

When not enjoying the dogs, there is lots to do. We will provide snowshoes for making new trails and exploring on foot. We can build fires to sit by at night and wait for the northern lights.  It is lots of fun to build a snow house and experience the surprising comfort of sleeping without a tent.

When not exploring, photographing, or lounging, there is plenty of diversion in a winter camp. Wood needs to be cut, snow needs to be melted for cooking, dogs need tending, and the skills and lore of a wall tent camp can be learned and savored. Your guides are happy to do the work but people often really enjoy the rhythm and exercise of joining in to make a truly comfortable camp in such a remote environment.

Your guides are steeped in knowledge of the winter woods and the skills to make a comfortable life there. Whether your interest is in wild harvesting, bushcraft, “survival” skills, or natural history, your guides are eager to share their knowledge.

Wildlife is always unpredictable, but our camp will be located between the Tanana River and the Alaska Range, where we often see moose, caribou, wolves, foxes, lynx and ptarmigan all frequent the area. There are plenty of tracks to read in the snow and if we’re lucky we may find the animals that make them.

Last updated: December 9, 2022

Itinerary

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

March 17

Rendezvous at the Arctic Wild headquarters for a pre-trip meeting and gear check with your guides.

March 18

We will pick you up bright and early, loading into our truck for a 1 hour drive to the trailhead.  We’ll stop to take in the views of the rising mountains. At the trailhead we will cover some safety basics, then we take off along the trails, gliding through the winter wonderland to a handmade log cabin on a bluff above the river.

Our host make us welcome and settle us into various guest houses and wall tents. After lunch we will explore on foot and by dog-team.

March 19

Deeper into the wilds. Load the sleds, hook-up the dogs, warm-up the snow-mobiles, bundle up and get ready. It takes about 3 hours to get from the homestead to our base camp. Tents were set up earlier and firewood was cut so once we arrive we can get settled into the routine of camp life.

March 20 - 22

Each day brings its own adventure and surprises. Your desires and the weather will dictate the schedule. Wildlife sightings quicken the pulse and the process of learning to work with the dogs is immensely rewarding. Tents are kept warm and there is ample and delicious food. If you prefer to relax in camp and watch the snowy landscape from the comfort of a warm tent, enjoy! If you prefer to spend the whole day on the trail discovering one new vista after the next we are delighted to take you over the horizon. When the day’s adventures are done we have excellent chances to see the Aurora dancing green and red above the mountains while the dogs howl in the arctic twilight.

March 23

Our final morning in camp and time to say goodbye to the trails and vistas you have grown to love. Then it is back on the sled for the run back to the road. Kiss your favorite dog goodbye and then head back towards civilization. We encourage you to spend a few extra days in Fairbanks to enjoy more winter time activities like the ice carving championships.

Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. His knowledge for the flora, fauna, and natural history of the tundra is astonishing. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!

 

- Brent, Colorado, USA

DETAILS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Round-trip transportation from Fairbanks

Outstanding guide service

Wholesome, and delicious food while in the wilderness

Stoves, cooking & eating utensils

Repair and safety equipment

Wall-tent and stove

Winter camping tools

Winter grade sleeping bag and pads

Snowshoes and/or skis

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Non-camp lodging

Non-camp meals

Personal clothing, and footwear. See full equipment list for details

Gratuity for guide(s)

WEATHER & BUGS

Temperatures vary dramatically in the arctic. We could see temperatures from -20 to +40 F. Average temperatures should be around 10 F with warm afternoons and cold nights. Multiple layers will ensure comfort despite the dramatic temperature swings common in late March. Please consult with us about what clothes to bring so that you are comfortable and follow our winter packing list carefully.

Bugs? We might see some snow fleas but you can leave the DEET at home.

RECOMMENDED READING

Snow-Walkers Companion, Garrett and Alexandra Conover

Ordinary Wolves, Seth Kantner

Winter: An Ecological Handbook, James Halfpenny

Sled Dog Trails, Mary Shields

Dog Driver, Mikki Collins

"The wilderness was spectacular, the leadership perfect."
"I am just finishing my tenth trip with you guys. As always, the trip was more than I expected and I had a great time. See you next year!"
"Of all outfitters with whom we have worked (and that is quite a number), you were by far the most organized and responsive."
"That feeling of wide open wonder, the possibilities for nearly limitless wandering, and the image of those proud caribou...that will stay with me a long time"
"Our guide was an encyclopedia on legs. He was always willing and ready to teach, to talk, to listen, to do another hike, or to lie low in camp if we were beat. He truly gave us the trip we wanted!"
client client client client client
Eileen - Canning River