ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, THE BIGGEST WILD
Alaska $4,400 (Inclusive*) • June 4-11, 2017
Perhaps the greatest remaining terrestrial wilderness on Earth, the Arctic Refuge is a pulsating, living wilderness of caribou, moose, Dall sheep, and grizzly. It is vast tundra plains, rugged peaks, and gorgeous mountain valleys with wild rivers and forests of spruce and poplar. We’ll explore a chunk of the Brooks Range, the most remote mountains in North America. Be prepared for any kind of weather and all kinds of adventure! There’ll be spring wildflowers, and we’ll be there before peak mosquito season. The price includes two air flights (Fairbanks to Arctic Village and Arctic Village to a remote wilderness air strip). This may be the most pristine wilderness on Earth! Yet some politicians propose massive industrial development for its rich northern coastal plain. The trip base is Fairbanks and the rating is fairly strenuous. Bring your own gear or add $500 to the listed price.
Please note: If you plan to sign up for this wonderful trip, please sign up as soon as possible. That’s because spring/summer airline seats to Alaska are difficult to secure if you wait too long!
The Arctic Refuge is about the size of South Carolina with no roads or maintained trails! And it’s contiguous with other huge protected wilds. The scale of this landscape is beyond description, and each trek visits a different part of the Brooks Range, probably the wildest mountain range on Earth not buried by an ocean or an ice cap.
WHAT IS INCLUDED: all trip planning, permits and fees, good food, cooking gear and stoves. Also two round trip flights between Fairbanks and Arctic Village and between Arctic Village and “the bush”. Big Wild owner, guide/naturalist Howie Wolke usually leads these trips, and he is probably the most experienced backpack guide in the country. We’ll also supply gear (backpack, daypack, sleeping bag & pad, tent, eating utensils) if you need it for an additional $500.
TRIP INSURANCE: because of our expenses and commitments to flying services, all payments are final; there will be no refunds or credits! Unfortunately, pre-trip injuries/illnesses/family problems do occur. To avoid financial loss, protect yourself with travel insurance! If you can afford this trip, you can afford this insurance. Please contact:www.csatravelprotection.com. There are other outfits, too.
THE TREK: This is one of the greatest wildernesses left on Earth! On day 1 we’ll fly from Fairbanks to Arctic Village and then fly with our bush pilot into the remote wilds to begin our journey. On the final day, we’ll hike to the landing area and again meet our bush pilot, and we’ll then fly back to Arctic Village and to Fairbanks.
Big mountains, broad valleys, roaring rivers, open tundra and the continent’s northernmost stands of boreal forest constitute a breathtaking Arctic landscape as remote, wild and utterly magnificent as any place on Earth! We’ll be north of the Arctic Circle, and it won’t get dark. We plan a mid-trip layover for rest or day-hiking. Wildlife includes grizzly, gray wolf, Dall sheep, wolverine, moose, musk ox and more. Caribou are scattered about in mid-summer, but are bunched up in herds during spring and fall.
This adventure isn’t for the faint of heart. There are no maintained trails, plenty of stream crossings, and occasional areas of poor footing, though in general, footing is better than in many other Alaska wildernesses. We usually cover 6-8 miles each day, and sometimes, your feet will be wet. Elevation gains are modest compared with our more strenuous trips in the Rockies, but due to the remote trail less terrain, we rate this trip fairly strenuous. Good fitness and determination are essential!
WEATHER AND BUGS: Day temperatures can vary from the 30’s to the high 70’s; “nights” are typically in the 40’s, but can freeze. Sunny days can be hot, with little shade. By late August it’s autumn and cooler. Good rain gear is essential, as there’s little shelter on the tundra. Mosquitoes can be intense from mid June through mid-July, after which they begin to wane. Bring repellent and mosquito netting for late spring and summer trips. Our early June treks usually precede the peak bug season, but there will still be a few mosquitoes, and hikers should be prepared in case of an early hatch.
TRAVEL AND TRIP BASE: If possible, fly to Fairbanks the day before the evening pre-trip meeting to protect against delayed luggage or missed connections, since we must be on an early morning day 1 flight to Arctic Village and cannot wait for late arriving people or baggage. Also, if possible, don’t plan an early flight home on the first morning after the trip, just in case weather delays our departure from the bush. We’ve yet to be delayed on an Alaska departure, but try not to tempt fate! We’ll meet at 6 pm at the Fairbanks Super 8 on Airport Road (907-451-8888) the evening prior to the trip, where you should make pre and post trip reservations. The motel has airport pickup and will store travel baggage.
SOME POLITICIANS and oil companies are still trying to open this wondrous wilderness to massive industrial oilfield development. Please consider writing your Congressional representatives and ask them to protect this priceless place!
*For this unique trip, the price includes two air flights (Fairbanks to Arctic Village round trip and Arctic Village out into the wilds and back), food and cooking and cooking gear, all trip planning, comprehensive safety instruction, all user/permit fees, and a big Wild professional guide/naturalist. For all other trips, the price also includes equipment (backpack, day-pack, tent, sleeping bag and pad, eating utensils), but for our Alaska adventures there is an additional charge of $500 for us to supply the gear package.