Off to ANWR!

One week, almost to the hour, after Aliy and Allen returned home from Nome, they headed north to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for their annual adventure tours. Thirty dogs, five sleds, arctic tents, stoves, dog food and people food were loaded into two trucks for the 14 hour drive on the Dalton Highway or ‘Haul Road’, which parallels the Trans Alaska Pipeline. Aliy and Allen leave their trucks near Galbraith Lake, a summer camp area currently buried in snow, north of the Brooks Mountain Range. They then transport all the gear into ANWR by dogsled since motorized vehicles are not permitted in the refuge. They will spend several days developing a trail system and dropping supply caches to be used during the tours.

On Saturday, a group of 3 adventure tourists will be transported to Galbraith Lake, from the airstrip at Coldfoot, an outpost north of the Arctic Circle. Aliy and Allen will lead them into ANWR for a week of arctic camping, wildlife viewing and instruction in dog sledding. Each participant will have his/her own sled and dog team. The arctic landscape and wildlife here is truly spectacular and unique. It is not uncommon to see caribou, fox, snowshoe hare and Northern Lights in the space of several hours.

Ken drives his team in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in 2007.

The following week two groups of 4 people will meet Aliy and Allen. They will travel by dog sled to base camps just inside ANWR. This week of adventure, called Motion in the Arctic White Silence, will combine arctic sightseeing and camping, dog sledding and a self-discovery workshop led by a nationally known psychologist. The pristine environment of arctic Alaska can provide for truly life changing experiences.

The dogs used for these tours are a combination of older, seasoned athletes and younger dogs in their first full season of training. The older dogs enjoy teaching the youngsters, individual attention from the tourists and a slower mushing pace. The youngsters learn about camping, unfamiliar trails and day long drives in a dog truck, lessons needed for racing success later in their lives.

Right now the arctic climate is perfect for these trips. There are 13 to 14 hours of daylight and the temperatures will likely hover between 25 above and 10 below zero F.

Setting up camp in ANWR under a bright arctic sun.