Few places in the world compare to the Arctic. The coastal tundra is home to species of plants and animals that are, quite literally, remnants of the last ice age. The landscape, drab at first appearance, comes alive when you step away from the roads. Birds nest by the hundreds of thousands, caribou wander in herds, musk-oxen defend young against wolves and bears, while tiny wildflowers appear from the tundra grass, and rivers cut winding paths across the plain. In June, it is a place that seems designed for wildlife and landscape photography.
The Brooks Range marks the southern edge of the Arctic Coastal Plain, and the mountains are anything but subtle. Jagged peaks, tundra-clad hills, and wild rivers dominate that landscape. In June It is a place of drama and mind-bending, 24-hour sunlight.
This June, I’m looking for three intrepid photographers who’d like to join me on an epic road trip that will carry us from the Arctic coast to the forested interior of Alaska. Our goal will be to photograph the diverse birds, mammals, and landscapes of the region, while driving the famous Dalton Highway from Deadhorse to Fairbanks.
This is the first time I’m running this trip. It’s an experiment, and an adventure, and it’s going to be awesome. And because it’s an experiment, I’m only offering a few spots, and at cut-rate price. This is a one-time opportunity. So who wants to go?
Need more convincing? Here is the plan in brief:
Day 1- You’ll fly from Fairbanks to Deadhorse where I’ll meet you with the vehicle. There we’ll check into the unique Prudhoe Bay Hotel before heading out to search for and photograph the Spectacled, Common, and King Eiders that are frequently observed in the area. We’ll also keep our eyes peeled for other birds to photograph. Songbirds like Yellow Wagtails and Lapland Longspurs nest on the coastal tundra while dozens of shorebirds, gulls, jaegers, loons, and waterfowl can be found nearby.
Day 2- We will drive south about 100 miles to the northern foothills of the Brooks Range, where we will set up camp for two nights near the Atigun River. From our comfortable arctic camp we will venture out to photograph the dramatic north side of the Brooks Range the birds and animals that live there. Caribou, musk oxen, bears, and wolves may be encountered and rarely photographed bird species like Yellow-billed Loons, Smith’s Longspur, Bluethroats, Arctic Warbler, and others are almost always seen nearby.
Day 3- A full day to continue exploring the Brooks Range with our cameras. If the weather is good, we may get out for an all-day hike, exploring hidden valleys with tumbling streams, or the sweeping valleys where blue arctic rivers emerge from the mountains.
Day 4- In the morning, we’ll load up and drive south over Atigun Pass and past the Chandalar Shelf before descending into the Koyukuk River drainage. High in the mountains we may encounter Dall’s Sheep, white Snow Buntings, or rarely spotted Gray-crowned Rosy Finches. South of the pass, for the first time, we will find ourselves surrounded by trees and scruffy spruces line the many rivers and streams. It’s a different world south of the divide, but the mountains remain dramatic. We only have about 100 miles to drive to the village of Wiseman, where we’ll spend our final night at a log cabin Bed and Breakfast. The short distance allows plenty of time to get out for hikes and make images along the way.
Day 5- It’s a 250 mile drive to Fairbanks, which on the rough and winding Dalton Highway takes about 6 hours. We’ll stop for wildlife and landscape photo opportunities and have a lunch break at the mighty Yukon River, but much of the day will be on the road as we make our way through the boreal forest clad hills of the Yukon Valley and Alaska’s interior. If all goes as planned, we will arrive back in Fairbanks in time for dinner.
Still need convincing?
Dates: 2-6 June 2017
Maximum 4 participants! $2200/person. All transportation, food, and lodging from Fairbanks including flight to Deadhorse, return road trip, two nights hotels, and two nights camping.
I’m sorry, but you just can’t beat that.
Now, who’s up for an Arctic Photo Adventure? Sign up by sending me a message below: