Think about the one place you want to visit most, that one place you dream of going day in and day out, if that place lies below 66°33′47.3″ North of the equator or above 66°33′47.3″ South of the equator or if you don’t know what I meant, then this group is probably not for you. However, if you, like me, have an unexplained urge to venture into places within the Arctic or Antarctic Circle, to get to the edge of the Continent and touch (correction: throw yourself into) the polar sea club-style, then this group may be a right fit for you. If your bucket list looks something like: Dempster Highway, Dalton highway, Kaktovik, AK, Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, The Northwest Passage, The Smoking Hills of NWT Canada, Tuktut Nogait National Park, Ivvavik National Park, Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Greenland, Svalbard archipelago, Ushuaia, Argentina, Cape Horn, Antarctic peninsula, Vinson Massif, the North and South Pole, polar bears, arctic tundra, beluga whales, penguins, leopard seals, camping above the arctic tree line, experiencing Inuit culture, the midnight sun, northern lights, wildflowers galore on permafrost, AND if you know at least 3-4 of the places mentioned above without having to google it, then you are definitely in the right place. Now, let’s not kid ourselves here, some of the places in the Arctic and Antarctic are extremely hard to get to. It takes a lot of time, energy, planning and resource (aka. money) to get there. For example, if you want to climb Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica, get ready to drop at least $30k and go through some major conditioning. A Northwest Passage thru cruise (i.e. one that goes through the whole thing from Greenland to Alaska or vice versa) will set you back at least $25k per person or $50k per couple. Getting to the Smoking Hills of NWT Canada will require taking a flight (in a relatively small plane) from Inuvik, NWT (the former arctic terminus on the Dempster highway) to an isolated arctic ocean community named Paulatuk and then arrange with the locals to take you to The Smoking Hills 60 miles away in ATVs. Other options, like canoeing down the Horton river to get to the Smoking Hills, will cost just as much if not more. And cost is just one factor, some of the trips, like the Smoking Hills or Kaktovik, entail physical risk factor such as encountering dangerous predators like hungry polar bears (the locals will tell you the word “hungry” in the phrase is actually redundant since food is so hard to come by up there for the “white bears”). Unlike grizzlies or black bears, polar bears often see humans as a straight-up food source and not just curiosities- thus the saying about proper response to bear attack: “If Black, fight back. Brown, lay down. White, Good Night!”. While we should always ALWAYS keep a safe distance from any wildlife, especially one with a “Vulnerable” conservation status like the polar bear, bear sprays and firearms may be required on some of our trips as the absolute last resort. So if you have problem with people carrying guns around you, some of these trips may not be for you. The key to avoiding physical danger and the need to hurt these magnificent but highly endangered animals is to always pay attention to what your local guide is telling you. If he/she, all of a sudden, tells you to be quiet, back up or change direction of travel because of that moving white dot at the base of that seemingly far-away pingo, do it immediately, for your sake and the bear’s.
If I haven’t scared you away yet, here is some good news. There are a bunch of low-hanging-fruits like driving the Dempster or Dalton highway, getting to Tuktoyaktuk and taking a dip in the Beaufort Sea, searching for Northern Lights, or getting to Greenland or Cape Horn, that are all quite doable and easy to organize. And if we plan ahead and collaborate, it could be relatively affordable after splitting the cost.
So if you have the health, a little time and resource, and you can’t stop dreaming what’s out there beyond the north and south end of the world, then join us and let’s start planning our trips together.