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ARCTIC CIRCLE HOT SPRINGS
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING & DOG SLEDDING
CIRCLE HOT SPRINGS, ALASKA
The interior of Alaska is part of the great northern boreal forest that circles the entire globe. This area is home to indigenous people known as Athabascans. For thousands of years, their subsistence life style was in harmony with the wilderness. The land, water and wildlife provided them with the essentials for survival.
During the gold rush period of the 1890s and 1900s, the interior of Alaska became the home for many people from the lower 48 states who thought they would get rich over night when they hit pay dirt. What they found instead was a very harsh environment that sent most of them home broke. A few of these people fell in love with the wilderness and stayed. Many of their descendents still mind for gold and do their best at subsisting off the land.
Although the cold, dark Alaska winters can be harsh, it is at this time of the year that the immense wilderness becomes more accessible via a transportation network of frozen rivers, lakes and streams. The preferred methods for travel in the backcountry are cross-country skiing and dog sledding. Winter is a time to be outside. A subsistence lifestyle requires that you live off the land and during the winter you trap and hunt.
In modern times, visitors to the North Country can enjoy the Alaska wilderness without investing the time it takes to live a subsistence life style. Cross-country skiing and dog sledding become recreational pursuits rather than a necessity. The northern lights or aurora borealis becomes a natural wonder rather than just a companion during the cold Alaskan nights.
This 7-day cross-country skiing and dog sledding trip is for those of us with a romantic view of what it must be like to live in the remote winter wilderness of interior Alaska. Those of us, that is, who don't have the experience, but have the desire.
Our trip begins as we fly in a small bush plane north from Fairbanks, Alaska, toward the Yukon River and gold mining country. We will base our stay out of the Arctic Circle Hot Springs Resort that was built in the early 1900s. The hot springs, you will be happy to know, are open 24 hours a day for our enjoyment. Even in the dead of winter, the hot springs pool is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
We will divide our time among cross-country skiing, dog sledding, hiking in the snow and soaking in the hot springs. There are numerous cross-country ski trails to explore. Dog sledding trips will be scheduled with Julie and Denny Cooper. The Coopers operate a small kennel near the resort. Their trips are for beginners of all ages and last from a few hours to all day.
Our trip ends with a farewell dinner after we fly back to Fairbanks.
What We Provide. The Coopers will provide dogs, sleds and dog sledding gear. We will provide meals beginning with breakfast the first morning and ending with the farewell dinner the last day, shared accommodations at the Arctic Circle Hot Springs Resort, airfare from Fairbanks to Circle Hot Springs and back to Fairbanks, and at least one experienced guide.
Your Responsibility. Guests are responsible for getting to and from Fairbanks and lodging while there. Guests are also responsible for providing cross-country skis, ski poles and adequate winter clothing and footwear. Note: Although no previous cross-country and/or dog sledding experience is necessary, participants need to be in good health and physical condition, enjoy being outside in cold, possibly very cold, conditions and have a sense of adventure.
Trip Fee & Reservations. The trip fee is $2,579 per person for shared accommodations. A $975 per person deposit is due at the time the reservation is made. The balance is due six weeks prior to the trip. Reservations made 30 days before the trip begins must be paid in full before the trip begins.
Cancellation Policy. Any cancellation made prior to 30 days before the trip begins will result in a $500 per person cancellation fee. Any cancellation made during the 30 days before the trip begins will result in a $975 per person cancellation fee. If the trip is canceled by Alaska Personal Journeys, the trip fee will be refunded. It is recommended that cancellation insurance be purchased through a travel agency in case the trip is canceled in order to cover non-refundable expenses such as airline and hotel fees.
Dollar-A-Day for Conservation. All of the courses and trips offered by Alaska Personal Journeys are intended to raise public awareness to the need to protect our environment. We hope you will consider contributing one dollar per day to support the work of local conservation groups doing their best to protect Alaska's special places. Simply add one dollar per day to the Alaska Personal Journeys trip fee. We will make sure that your contribution gets to the most effective conservation groups and that the group or groups sends you a receipt for tax deduction purposes.
The following itinerary may be modified due to weather, snow and ice conditions or wildlife viewing opportunities. The itinerary is intended to give guests a general idea of what to expect.
Day 0. Arriving guests are picked up at the Fairbanks, Alaska, airport and transported
to their place of lodging for the evening. Dutch treat dinner at local Fairbanks restaurant.
Day 1. Late morning bush plane flight to Circle Hot Springs. Check into accommodations at the Arctic Circle Hot Springs Resort. Afternoon cross-country skiing. After dinner soak in the hot springs. Evening Northern Lights observation.
Day 2 . Morning free time and soak in the hot springs. Afternoon visit to Julie and Denny Cooper's dog kennel. After dinner soak in the hot springs. Evening Northern Lights observation.
Day 3. Day of dog sledding and hikes. After dinner soak in the hot springs. Evening Northern Lights observation.
Day 4. Day of cross-country skiing. After dinner soak in the hot springs. Evening Northern Lights observation.
Day 5. Day of dog sledding and hikes. After dinner soak in the hot springs. Evening Northern Lights observation.
Day 6. Day of cross-country skiing. After dinner soak in the hot springs. Evening Northern Lights observation.
Day 7. Morning free time and soak in the hot springs. Cross-country skiing or hiking. Afternoon bush plane flight back to Fairbanks arriving in time for a farewell dinner.