GUIDED ALASKA Custom

sled-dogs pulling a sled on the river ice in the Brooks Range

Arctic Dog Sledding Adventure

calendar

DATES

Late March or April
region

REGION

Arctic Refuge
price

TRIP COST

$$$

Dog sledding is a tradition from the earliest human times in Alaska and the quintessential way to experience winter in the Arctic. Join us for a week in the heart of the Brooks Range where you will experience the profound quiet of wilderness, the thrill of running a dog team, and the awe of watching the Northern Lights dance above the snowy peaks. Discover why Alaskans think of April as the perfect time of year to tour the Brooks Range.

TRIP DETAILS

Spring in the Arctic is dramatic. The sun rises higher each day as we head from total winter darkness to the endless light of summer. With the returning light and (relative warmth) of spring, the land and its inhabitants stir. Caribou migrate north, and golden eagles and other migrants begin to arrive. Hibernators shake off months of sleep and predators are on the move.  March and April are a time of deep fluffy snow and dazzlingly bright days. The grip of winter relaxes, and it is the perfect time to travel the frozen landscape.

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 camp full of enthusiastic sled-dogs, 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.  When not enjoying the dogs, there is lots to do. We will provide snowshoes for making new dog-trails and exploring on foot. There may be opportunities to fish through the ice of a nearby lake and the ever-changing light provides endless opportunities for photography. Ridgelines are often blown free of snow and we may be able to hike towards the peaks.

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.

Wildlife is always unpredictable, but our camp will be on the historic route of the caribou’s spring migration. Some years we see caribou migrating northward towards the calving ground, cows heavy with calves, and the herd pawing through the snow searching the white wilderness for food. And where there are caribou, predators like wolves and bears can sometimes be found. Wolves follow the herds and we have seen dramatic chases in the snow. Bears may start to emerge from dens, and caribou are sometimes their first meal of the year.

We will set up a solid and comfortable camp sheltered from the wind in an area with abundant firewood. 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.

Last updated: January 24, 2020

Itinerary

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

Day 0

Rendezvous at the Arctic Wild headquarters for a pre-trip meeting and gear check in the morning. When everything is organized and loaded we fly north to the outpost of Coldfoot, where we meet our hosts and owners of Arctic Getaway B&B. After a short drive from the airport we settle into our cabins in this historic location and begin exploring. Save some energy for watching the Aurora tonight.

Day 1

The adventure continues! Another short drive gets us to the trailhead where we meet the dogs and shuttle into camp via dog-sled. The trail is narrow and requires some steering but after a couple hours you arrive at camp which has already been set-up. When we arrive the the tents are warm and filled with the smell of good food.

Day 2 - 6

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.

Day 7

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 to Wiseman and the B&B for the night. This time you will have your own stories to share with our hosts who have lived in the Brooks Range for 30 years.

Day 8

We catch the morning flight back to Fairbanks and shed our many layers. Who knew that Fairbanks was relatively warm? By early afternoon you should be un-packed and ready for the next adventure.

Having been home a couple of days I found a minute to send you a note to say a big thank you to you and all at Arctic Wild who contributed to making a really amazing trip for us.  I know you are well aware we made a fair number of “variations” around the original plan, but both the variations and the ease and tolerance with which they were made contributed to an amazing trip.  We have been fortunate to travel fairly widely and with a fair number of “Adventure / Eco travel” concerns.  Without doubt this was one of the best trips we have done.  The environment certainly was key but the organization and people involved, particularly Dori, really made it.

I would like to comment on the quality of your staff.  Amazing.  Wyatt from last years trip, still stands out as one of the memorably excellent guides we have been lucky to have, and Dori  …  Well I cannot really find words to express my admiration and appreciation.  Those that travel with her are truly fortunate.

Regards, and thanks again.

- Malcolm, California, USA

DETAILS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Round-trip airfare 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

2 nights lodging in Wiseman, AK

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Non-camp lodging except in Wiseman April 6 and 12

Non-camp meals except in Wiseman

Personal clothing, and footwear

Gratuity for guide(s)

See full equipment list for details

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 April. 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