Every fall, the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, the largest in the state at over 200,000 animals, moves south from their summer range in the arctic through the western Brooks Range and toward the Seward Peninsula. They move in small bands of a few to a few hundred animals as they cross the many passes and river valleys of the DeLong Mountains. This trip aims to put you in their path.
Last updated: January 24, 2020
What follows is a general flow of events. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be flexible.
Meet your guide in Kotzebue for a pre-trip meeting where we’ll look over the maps and double-check our gear. At the meeting, we’ll schedule a rendezvous time for the next morning’s flight.
Weather permitting we’ll fly from Kotzebue in the morning to our camp in the DeLong Mountains. We’ll set up our tents in a good location to spot wildlife and to explore the surrounding mountains. In the afternoon we should have time to head out for a hike, or if you prefer, simply kick back and watch the light change over the Brooks Range. Back at camp, there will be a hot and nourishing dinner and likely an early night after a long day.
We have three full days to watch wildlife, hike, search for ancient campsites, and photograph the scenery. Each day will bring something different, and our activities will be dictated by the weather, our energy, and interests.
Assuming good weather, we’ll say goodbye to our camp in the mountains and make a few final photographs before a bush plane arrives to ferry us back to Kotzebue.
Such a joy to spend days where time was meaningless. A wonderful adventure and I would like to return next year for a longer, more challenging trip.
You mentioned to me in an email that you have terrific guides - you do indeed. Dave is a superb guide. He is personable, knowledgeable about the Arctic, and has excellent group management skills. I appreciated the time he spent teaching me to read the map, which is not easy without trails. He allowed Adrian and me to hike at our own pace and he encouraged all of us to explore the area surrounding our campsites. I know the others would concur in my praise.
Transportation beyond Kotzebue, food while in the wilderness, stoves, cooking & eating utensils, safety & repair gear and professional guide service.
Lodging, non-camp meals, personal clothing and gear, waterproof river bag, fishing gear, and fishing license. Gratuity for guide(s).
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 ut bring a small bottle of DEET just in case.
Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer
People of the Noatak by Clair Fejes
Caribou and the Barren Lands by George Calef
Ordinary Wolves by Seth Kantner
Alaska Wilderness by Robert Marshall
Last Light Breaking by Nick Jans
Arctic Wild by Lois Crisler
More Alaska reading is available from our Bookstore.