Alaskan Arctic Expeditions is now offering summer excursions! After three decades of traversing the frozen Arctic on skis, snowshoes and dogsleds, we are picking up our canoe paddles, rafts and hiking boots and heading into the wilderness under the warm summer sun. We invite everyone who has an appetite for adventure and love of nature to join us!
And then we're off to the mighty Yukon River in Alaska! For eight days you will be surrounded by the pristine boreal forest while paddling down the powerful current of the Yukon. The scenery is astounding with its dark green landscape of rolling hills and cliffs. We might have an opportunity to see moose, bears, beaver, wolves and waterfowl.
The Yukon River is the longest river in Alaska and Yukon Territory. It was the principle means of transportation during the 1896-1903 Gold Rush. It was in the Yukon River area where Robert Service found his inspiration to write many of his famous poems including: The Cremation of Sam McGee. There are still folks who live along the historic Yukon River so we might see a few boats in the water and cabins tucked in the forest. You will truly enjoy the rare opportunity to travel on this historic river.
The Yukon River flows with a relatively fast current and paddling is easy as the water carries you down this magnificent river. At night we pitch our tents and enjoy campfires on the beaches in a land of the midnight sun.
These are eight day seven night adventures. The trip cost is $2,900 and covers all camping gear, groceries and tents. Just bring your personal items and a couple sets of rugged clothing to withstand outdoors living and we will provide the rest!! Canoeing the Yukon River is a true Alaskan wilderness experience.
begins our canoe adventure at the historic gold mining town of Eagle with a population 89 hardy souls. After our canoe safety orientation we will ease into our canoes, dip our paddles in the muscle of the Yukon River and begin our adventure!!
Each morning after enjoying hardy breakfasts cooked over an open fire (if weather permitting) we break camp and paddle slowly downstream. The Yukon is deafening silent but the current is powerful! On many stretches of the river, the only requirement is hold your paddle into the water and allow the current to perform all the work, leaving you time to relax and enjoy the beautiful forests drift by.
Depending on our progress, we might have an "off" day or two so we can explore areas of the boreal forest of fish local streams. In the afternoon or evenings we simply pull our canoes on shore and pitch camp. Sometimes the beaches are too thick with brush to camp so we will pitch our tents a little distance from the river. At night, weather permitting, we will fire up the campfire and feast on camp cooked hardy meals.
We arrive at our destination of Circle City that has a population of around 100 folks and head back to "civilization" with many adventures to tell!!
Trips are available in June
Late June 8-day
The Saviukviayak River, meaning: "material for a spear head" in Eskimo, is an amazingly panoramic Arctic river that cuts through the jagged Brooks Mountain Range in a westerly direction. Its relatively abundant wildlife population is due from hidden and unmapped warm springs alongside the river. This warm spring flows year-round and provides rich nutrients to fish that become sources of food for an array of predators' including: wolves, foxes, wolverines and rare and migratory birds. It's a birder's hidden treasure!
Geologically speaking the Saviukviayak, or Sav, is a very unique river with mineral deposits that is considered to be world-class significance.
The Sav River is also one of many rivers in the Brooks Range that is rarely traveled. It's only accessible by airplane, helicopter or dogteam in winter. Which is why the Sav is virtually unexplored.
In late June, the landscape of jagged peaks and rolling hills awakens with a spectacular display of colorful wildflowers. It's a truly an amazing sight. Also, one of the highlights of the Sav River is the warm-springs. I had discovered the warm springs while traveling by dog team several years ago. Surrounding this thermal springs are large poplar trees which are not common in the Arctic. They resemble an oasis in a desert. This small Arctic oasis is a sight to see and to experience. Even though the springs are not warm enough to bathe in, it will definitely be by one of our campsites for us to explore.
This is our big day!! This is when we leave civilization behind us and venture into one of the most pristine Arctic wildernesses in the world! After a flight by small plane we land on the headwaters of the Sav River where we set-up camp. It's a beautiful setting surrounded with jagged knifed peaks and rich arctic flora. This is sheep country!!
The large sheep population represents a general healthy wildlife population. So, we might also see wolverines, caribou, moose, eagles and foxes as well. It would be a shame to immediately depart and allow this jewel of Alaska's Arctic unexplored! So, our 2nd day will be spent hiking and exploring this magnificent landscape.
In the early morning we break camp, load the rafts and start our journey down the winding Sav River. The landscape is striking as we pass through a wide canyon. This will be a prime opportunity to view Dall sheep and golden eagles. After we set up camp in the early afternoon we hike the ridges and explore this incredible valley.
After a short day of rafting we will make camp early in the afternoon and hike to the malamute warm springs where we will explore this rare Arctic oasis.
Day 5 - 7
Now, the landscape opens wide with the jagged peaks falling away in the distance as we float down the braided river. We might see caribou grazing on the lush green hillsides or grizzly bears lying lazily in the summer midnight sun. The arctic environment and its wildlife is unpredictable so we never know what surprises lay ahead while we float down the braided river. It's possible to see muskoxen or moose too!! We will repeat our previous day of setting up camp and exploring this incredible landscape.
Today, we break camp and take a short flight back to our base-camp. Then we will start the journey back home with memories of an adventure of a lifetime!! These are eight day seven night adventures. The trip cost is $2,900 and covers all camping gear, groceries and tents. Just bring your personal items and a couple sets of rugged clothing to withstand outdoors living and we will provide the rest!!
Marsh fork canning
The Marsh fork of the Canning River is an incredible and stunning landscape! We will land via small plane in the midst of towering and jagged peaks near the continental divide. The area has a healthy Dall sheep population and possibly we will see wolves, grizzly bears, and golden eagles.
The Marsh Fork is a shallow river that twists and turns around rocky cliffs, eventually joining the Canning River. As we drift down the Canning you will see a small forest of poplar trees. These trees are supplied with rich nutrients by a thermal river that flows from beneath boulders on the mountain side. This forested area has a very important historical significance: it is here in the forest of poplar trees, that a Japanese man named Frank Yasuda and three other explorers wintered in the 1890's before they trekked over the continental divide and founded the Village of Beaver on the Yukon River.
After we arrive on the gravely shores of the Marsh Fork we will set-up camp and explore this jagged landscape. This is a high elevation scenario so hopefully we will spot Dall sheep.
In the following morning we will break camp and load the rafts and start our float down the winding Marsh Fork. It's a crystalline fish bearing river that holds trophy sized Arctic grayling. It's a fly-fisherman's paradise!
Day 3 – 5
We will continue our float down the Canning and explore the striking landscape. As we approach the thermal spring by the forest there is a good chance to see rare chickadees that reside by the springs.
is an "off" day which will give us a rare opportunity to explore the thermal springs and forest.
After a short flight back to basecamp we will start the journey back home with a memorable adventure to tell all. These are eight day seven night adventures. The trip cost is $2,900 and covers all camping gear, groceries and tents. Just bring your personal items and a couple sets of rugged clothing to withstand outdoors living and we will provide the rest!!
Porcupine lake/Ivishak River
Porcupine Lake is a very interesting geological feature in the Brooks Range. It lies near the continental divide and is surrounded by lush vegetation that flourishes around the lake. The water is deep with a very healthy population of Arctic grayling, char and lake trout. Our pilot will drop us off below the lake on the Ivishak River. The Ivishak is a cold, clear, glacier fed river surrounded with jagged peaks and rolling hills. The Ivishak valley has a rich wildlife population including Dall sheep, grizzly bear, foxes, caribou and occasional moose. It's an absolutely stunning valley and a photographer's dream!!
Day 1 – 2
After the pilot lands beside the Ivishak River we set-up camp and then hike to Porcupine Lake and the surrounding mountains. This is a striking area with a rich landscape of lush green willows and meadows. Depending on the group's interesting we might spend the second day in the Porcupine lake area.
In the early morning we break camp, load the rafts and start our journey down the winding Ivishak River. The landscape is absolutely beautiful as we drift down the crystalline glacier river. After we set up camp in the early afternoon we hike the ridges and explore this incredible broad sweeping valley.
Day 4 – 7
after a short day of boating we will make camp early in the afternoons and hike and explore this incredibly panoramic valley. Hiking opportunities are endless!!
A flight back to base camp, then we will start the journey back home with incredible memories and stories of our adventure in one of the most pristine arctic wildernesses of the world! These are eight day seven night adventures. The trip cost is $2,900 and covers all camping gear, groceries and tents. Just bring your personal items and a couple sets of rugged clothing to withstand outdoors living and we will provide the rest!!
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness - BWCAW
May - 7 day trip
This national treasure is located in the lake country of northern Minnesota and consists of 109,000 million acres. Spanning over 200 miles along the Canadian border, there are over 1000 lakes, 2,000 campsites and over 1,500 miles of canoe routes through this pristine unspoiled natural area. It boasts the largest virgin forests remaining in the US east of the Rocky Mountains. To the north adjoining this large tract of preserved land is Canada's Quetico Provincial Park boasting another 1,180,000 acres of wilderness and both of these preserves are paddle in only. No motors allowed.
Travel in this area is by paddle in only and is a maze of beautiful streams, waterfalls, lakes, creeks, bogs, swamp and rivers. We will be paddling canoes and portaging (carrying on our backs) all of our gear over intricate canoe portage land routes the Native Americans carved for us 100s of years ago. So you must be physically fit to carry 40 lbs on your back a short distance.
We will be traveling on the exact same canoe routes that the Sioux and Chippewa Indians used for 100s of years and also the French-Canadian Voyageurs who were the first fur traders in the late 1700s. Due to the conservative efforts throughout the years, this area looks just as wild today as it did when the Native Americans traveled through it.
The BWCAW sports some of the oldest exposed rock in the world (2.8 billion years old) It is in this area the southern boreal forest meets and mixes with the northern hardwood forest, setting the stage for vast changing forests and wildlife watching. The BWCAW is one of the few places in the continental United States with an indigenous population of the Eastern Timber Wolf. One may also be lucky enough to see moose, bald eagles, loons, river otters, beavers, fishers and black bears and even catch a trophy fish or two. May is the best time to view wildlife, as the animals haven't gotten used to the spring arrival of the paddlers yet.
After meeting up in Orr, MN we will start our journey via vehicle to BWCAW trailhead. It is there we will learn about packing gear and traveling by canoe. Then we will launch on the stream that will carry us into the BWCAW. Our first day of paddling will be zigzagging through a lot of little streams and over beaver dams and winding and picking our through some wild rice beds that flow beautifully in the breeze. Our chance to view wildlife in these areas is great as animals are always crossing these bogs. You will be amazed at how you will become an expert maneuvering your vessel through these small little openings and tight corners. Day one concludes a long day on a very large lake filled with trophy Lake Trout and Moose have been spotted in this area.
In the early morning we will break camp and load the canoes and continue on our journey penetrating into the BWCAW. We will begin to see less people and the portages will become wilder and narrow and less maintained. Today we will travel past some gorgeous waterfalls as we skip from lake to lake in the morning. We will be paddling past some stunning rock cliff formations carved out by mile high glaciers. Then it will be more stream running and lots of beaver activity in the afternoon before finally dumping out on Lac La Croix, one of the biggest lakes in the BWCA that is spotted with hundreds of islands. We will camp in a very good fishing spot with a good view of the sun setting in the east and more rocky cliffs.
We will have a rest day today and will be doing some fishing, relaxing and exploring the islands and our campsite. There is even a nice beach within paddle distance. Lots of recovery and hammock time!
This day will be a day of paddling only and no portaging. We will be focused on fishing for those who want to troll while we travel (weather permitting) and this area produces big walleyes, northern and lake trout. In the afternoon if the wind allows, we will float over to the Canadian side and see some of the best pictographs in the BWCAW. These are drawings painted 100s of years ago on the side of a looming cliff by the Native Americans surrounded by water. There is also a great overlook cliff to climb to get a good high vantage point to view the vastness of the BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park in Canada.
This day consists of more padding and Very little portaging. We will be traveling past some of the largest red and white pine boreal forests east of the Rocky Mountains and getting to the farthest point of our loop we are traveling. This day will be our last day camping on Lac La Croix.
We will be breaking camp early and starting our turn back the way we came from on our loop route. This day will be spent traveling and as we get closer back to civilization we will start to see more people. Our final night will be spent on a lake that has some great physical features of rock formations and great crappie and walleye fishing!
An early morning hot breakfast and a final break down of camp and we will be heading back to our original destination. We will stop in the afternoon at a beautiful beach for lunch, then it's zigzagging through stream running while we pick our way back through the serene wild rice reed beds with a brief stop at a cliff to climb on our way back to civilization.