Long spring days invite intrepid dog sledders to explore the stunning treeless landscapes of the Itikmalik River of the Brooks Range, far above the Arctic Circle. Experience snow capped mountains, migrating caribou, and shimmering spring aurora on this once-in-a-lifetime Arctic adventure. Explore the tundra and creek valleys surrounding our Arctic camp. Play in the shadows of the mountains, and search for dropped caribou antlers. Where we shall go depends on the weather, snow conditions, and our will! If we are lucky, the sun will shine bright late into the evening, inviting long lunches with warm afternoon naps on the sleds, and fresh outdoor dinners, sunglasses needed. At night the aurora will cut through the late evening's twilight, dancing in the giant Arctic sky as the sled dogs howl. This is the most rustic and adventurous of our trips, with tent camping, an outdoor latrine, and millions of acres of tundra to explore by dog team. 4 person max.
Moderate to difficult because of narrow backcountry trails that require some balance and fitness to navigate. Moderate hill climbs where you will need to help the dogs by pushing the sled uphill and demonstrate basic balance in order to manage the sled brake on the descent. This seven day trip traverses unbroken and seldomly traveled Arctic landscapes.
No previous mushing experience is required. We will teach you everything you need to know to feel comfortable and equipped for your days on the trail. That being said, dog mushing is a physical activity...from harnessing dogs to standing on the sled all day, you will need to be reasonably able-bodied in order to fully enjoy this experience.
In order to safely enjoy this trip you must be able to:
- Lift 50 lbs.
- Endure hard falls onto ice or hard-packed snow.
- Get dragged while holding onto sled handlebars (hard on shoulders).
- You must be able to squat to go to the bathroom outside.
- You must be able to balance on one foot for a minimum of 5-10 seconds.
- You must be able to climb stairs quickly and easily.
- You must be able to jump up from a prone position on the ground and in deep snow off-piste (i.e. a snow burpee)
- Be capable of walking or hiking on steep and uneven terrain for up to 4 hours.
- Be prepared to wrangle strong sled dogs (hard on wrists, hands, and shoulders).
- Be prepared to be exposed to cold, wet, windy and otherwise adverse weather conditions sometimes found in higher latitudes.
If you are over the age of 65, we require a medical clearance from your doctor. (Click here to see our medical form.)
You do not need previous experience with cold-weather climates, but you will need to equip yourself with a proper set of winter base layers in order to ensure your comfort and safety. Even though it is spring in Alaska, weather and temperatures can still be harsh and unpredictable. We will provide you with a list of suggested & required gear -- your comfort is our utmost concern! Check out our packing list here.
will i drive my own dog team?
Yes. You will drive and be responsible for your own small team of 4-6 dogs. Your professional dog sledding guide will introduce you to your team, and give you a lesson on how to drive the sled. You will learn how to harness a sled dog, and how to slow and stop your team. Your guide drives their own team just ahead of you, keeping an eye on the dogs, the trail, and your progress.
Your dog sledding guide for this trip is Lisbet Norris. Lisbet is the company owner and lead guide at Arctic Dog Adventure Co. Originally from Willow, Alaska, Lisbet grew up in a dog-mushing family. She is a three-time finisher of the Iditarod, the longest sled dog race in the world. Lisbet has two decades of experience guiding dog sled tours and expeditions. She is known for her leadership qualities under adverse circumstances and through sound preparation and experience, she makes the most unique and challenging adventures possible for her clients! Lisbet has a strong love for the North. A self-taught naturalist, she feels at home in the boreal forest of Interior Alaska and loves sharing the northern landscape with others. Lisbet holds a degree in Northern Studies and History from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
DAY 1: TO THE ARCTIC
We will pick you up at your hotel in Fairbanks around 8am to begin our journey North. Our destination for the day is Wisemen, a charming little Gold Rush town in the heart of the Brooks Range, 290 miles north. We check in at the Fairbanks airport for your flightseeing tour. A short 1 hour flight has us landing in Coldfoot. We'll catch our transfer to Wiseman, where we will stay at a historical gold rush dance hall turned lodge, turn-of-the-century tunes still ringing in the timbers.
- Meals: Lunch and Dinner
- Accommodations: Shared B&B accommodations (2 people per room)
- Mileage: 275 miles (by plane)
DAY 2: BASECAMP BOUND
After breakfast, we will hit the road again, this time bound for Galbraith Lake, an ancient glacial lake on the North side of the Brooks Range. Galbraith Lake is 86 miles from Wiseman past the furthest North spruce tree and over the famous Atigun Pass of the Brooks Range. We will arrive at the trailhead by late morning. After loading the sleds and harnessing the dogs we will be off! First we will search for a suitable spot for our basecamp. Once we have established the trail to our camp, we will begin to ferry our supplies in from the roadside. Camp will take a few hours to set up. After lunch, we may take another excursion into the backcountry. Conditions in the Arctic are usually such that you can mush anywhere — trails are not needed, we blaze our own path! During April, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd is heading from the mountains to their calving grounds near the Arctic Coast. Keep an eye out for migrating caribou herds on the horizon, and the large predators that may follow them (bear, wolf).
Meals: Breakfast in Wiseman, Lunch and Dinner at Camp.
Accommodations: Arctic Ovens.
DAY 3-6: DOG SLEDDING DAILY
These days are devoted solely to dog sledding. We will explore the tundra and creek valleys surrounding our camp. We will play in the shadows of the mountains and search for dropped caribou antlers. Where we shall go depends on the weather, snow conditions, and our will! If we are lucky, the sun will shine bright late into the evening, inviting long lunches with warm afternoon naps on the sleds, and fresh outdoor dinners, sunglasses needed.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at Camp.
Accommodations: Arctic Ovens.
DAY 7: BREAKING CAMP
Our last day will be a long one. We will get up early to break down camp and mush back to the truck. After loading up the sleds and dogs, we will drive straight back to Fairbanks with a stop at the famous trucker’s wayside of Coldfoot for lunch and to drop the dogs. Potty breaks taken as needed.
Meals: Breakfast at Camp, Lunch at Coldspot. You will need to find your own dinner this night.
Accommodations: You will need to find your own accommodations for this night.
Galbraith Lake, Alaska
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