We could hardly wait to hear about the wonderful place that we would visit on our first Grand’s North American Travel Scholarship. Would it be California? Would it be Costa Rica? Would it be Colorado? So many options of amazing places to see and things to do in North America.
Imagine our surprise when Grand #1 wrote in his application that he wanted to go dog sledding and ice fishing in Alaska! These are activities that are typically done in the Winter months when the sun hangs low in the sky (for a few hours) as it lazily spreads its golden beams across the frozen tundra. Grand #1 was excited about his Alaskan wintertime adventures and as he shared his application with us we became excited about the adventure that lay ahead.
Having lived in Texas most of my life I’m accustomed to living in a large state but Alaska is 2-and-a-half times the size of Texas, comprising approximately 15% of the US land mass! So, where to start in planning the trip? After some calendar coordination we decided that we would make the trip over the Christmas and New Years holiday. Armed with this information I began to research locations including Sitka because of its proximity to Seattle, Anchorage because of its relative proximity to Denali National Park, and Kodiak because of its fishing lodges. As I attempted to put a multi-stop trip together for 7-days I quickly realized that we were going to lose a lot of time traveling from place to place.
Abandoning the “survey” approach, I hit upon the bullseye. Fairbanks was just far enough north that it would allow us to get to the Arctic Circle, Denali National Park (including riding the train back to Fairbanks), Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Yukon River, North Pole, ice fish, snow shoe, dog sled, and hopefully catch the Northern Lights. Now that I had my location it was time to find a place to stay. After realizing that our hotel options were limited and we wouldn’t likely want to all be camped out in a hotel room for the week I selected a lovely HomeAway/VRBO property that would allow our Grand to have his own bedroom. The house was relatively close to central Fairbanks and also provided a good sized living and dining room with a kitchen.
The next challenge? Our clothing! With temperatures ranging in the -20 to -30 below zero we had to pack the correct clothing or we would be miserable. After watching a video on how to dress for the Arctic temperatures and many hundreds of dollars later we had the coats, boots, and layers necessary to stay warm.
Our excitement mounted as I booked our dog sledding experience with Black Bruce Dog Sledding, our Arctic Circle Trip with the Northern Alaska Tour Company, and ice fishing with Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service.
The itinerary was finally complete and it was “Go” time! There are no words for the amazement we felt as we drove down a snow packed lane under the towering cathedral of snow draped evergreens as we began our Alaskan adventure. Check out the Mush! and ice fishing blogs for a few magical moments.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.