In the 1920s, sled dogs carried mail and supplies to remote regions of Alaska along a trail now called Iditarod. Guests on an AdventureSmith Explorations’ new nine-day Iditarod and Northern Lights Tour in Alaska this winter can place bets on their favorite huskies and witness the start of the annual Iditarod dog sled race while basking under the magnificence of the Northern Lights. This 1,150-mile wilderness trek from Anchorage to the Bering Sea commemorates a heroic race against death by diphtheria in 1925 when these fabled dogs brought life-saving serum to Nome.
This new AdventureSmith Explorations Iditarod and Northern Lights Tour beginning Feb. 27, 2011 includes dog sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, with stops along the way to see the Northern Lights from atop a mountain and review works-in-process at the 25-acre Ice Park where, in March, the World Ice Art Championships are held. Lodging is at several of Alaska’s finest hotels.
From Fairbanks, the arrival and departure city, and a stay at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge on the banks of the Chena River, the tour travels to Chena Hot Springs Resort to play in this winter world. Here is some the best Northern Lights viewing, especially from the vantage while soaking in a natural outdoor lake of up to 105 degrees. (The resort is also one of the leaders in harnessing geo-thermal energy from the hot springs.)
A flight to Anchorage includes lodging at the Captain Cook Hotel and an invitation to attend the Musher’s Banquet that celebrates the great achievement of the serum run that saved the lives of countless Nome children. The life and work of mushers who drive the teams will be explored, along with insights into the characteristics of sled dogs and the years of breeding and training that go into putting together a team. Mushers will describe the strategy, hardships, technical aspects and joys of life on the trail. At the banquet guests can bid at an auction for a ride with a musher as they leave the race start chute.
The ceremonial Iditarod start begins in downtown Anchorage. The #1 position is reserved in the memory of Leonhard Seppala, an immigrant from Norway who came to Alaska for the Gold Rush and became the state’s foremost hero when he did the 1925 sled run. Any of AdventureSmith Explorations’ guests who are successful bidders on the “Idita-Rider” auction will ride in the sled of a musher as they begin the race.
The per person rate begins at $2,699 (plus $98 tax) for eight nights lodging and breakfasts, two dinners, escort, private transfers, air between Anchorage and Fairbanks plus all admissions to events and lectures.
From November 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011 AdventureSmith Explorations also offers a shorter version of their Northern Lights Tour with an optional seat on the spectacular Aurora Train between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The program departs daily upon request and rates begin at $450 per person (without the train extension), or $750 with the train ride. See: http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/itinerarydetails.php/advid/18
About AdventureSmith Explorations
AdventureSmith Explorations is the global leader in small ship, adventure cruise vacations. Company founder Todd Smith helped pioneer the concept of wilderness cruising that combines the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking, hiking and exploring remote wilderness areas ashore. The company matches guests with the top names in small ship cruising as well with intimate, boutique ships that may not make the radar of most travelers.
In moving through exotic natural environments and exploring vibrant native cultures seldom associated with more mainstream cruise itineraries, AdventureSmith Explorations dedicates its efforts to small footprint, sustainable travel and has launched a carbon free cruising initiative. Its off-the-beaten-path destinations include Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, Belize, Ecuador and the Galapagos, Hawaii, Peru, the Arctic, Antarctica, and Australia.
The company was named by National Geographic Adventure as one of The Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth and is the recipient of Conde Nast Traveler’s prestigious “World Savers Award.”
For information and reservations call 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit: www.AdventureSmithExplorations.com.