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On the Road: Celebrate Summer in America’s Arctic

Program Number: 1015RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/16/2013 - 7/23/2013; 6/7/2015 - 6/17/2015; 7/9/2015 - 7/19/2015;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Price starting at: $2,098.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 20; 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 Dinners    

Begin your northern studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, one of the world’s premier Arctic research institutions. Fly north and stand on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Drive back to Fairbanks across the legendary Yukon River and through the magnificent Brooks Range. Then drive south to Denali National Park. Meet the people, hike the tundra, and observe the wildlife as you drive, fly and walk over this awesome, primal landscape under the endless sunlight of an Alaskan summer.




Highlights

• Traverse America's Arctic as you cross the Yukon River, summit Atigun Pass in the magnificent Brooks Range and stand on the shore of the Arctic Ocean.
• Meet the people of Interior Alaska, enjoy summer festivals — the Summer Solstice celebrations in June and the World Eskimo Indian Olympics in July.
• Visit and meet scientists at the world-renowned International Arctic Research Center.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to a half-mile. Stairs in lodging. Elevations up to 4,800 feet. Drive from Fairbanks to Prudhoe is 500 miles over two days, 12 hours per day over rough gravel roads. Frequent breaks, no more than two hours between outhouse stops.




Date Specific Information

7-16-2013

Attend the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, featuring a unique set of games that focus on creating and tuning the skills necessary for a far northern subsistence life style.



Itinerary Summary

JUNE: Arrive Fairbanks, 2 nights; fly in small planes to Prudhoe, 1 night, van to Toolik, 1 night, van to Coldfoot, 1 night, van to Fairbanks, 2 nights; van to Denali National Park, 2 nights; van to Fairbanks 1 night.
JULY: Arrive Fairbanks, 2 nights; fly in small planes to Prudhoe, 1 night, van to Coldfoot, 1 night, van to Fairbanks, 3 nights; van to Denali National Park, 2 nights; van to Fairbanks 1 night.



Coordinated by Denakkanaaga.




Fairbanks

The indigenous Athabaskan tribe had fished in the local area for centuries before it was settled in 1903 as a trading post for riverboats and gold prospectors. Fairbanks today is an important player in interior Alaska’s oil fields and pipelines.



Coldfoot

Coldfoot is a place to find warm hospitality north of the Arctic Circle. At this spot near the midpoint of the Dalton Highway, Iditarod champion Dick Mackey established a truck stop where he sold hamburgers out of a converted school bus. Coldfoot welcomes a stream of visitors who pass through as they explore Alaska’s remote Brooks mountain range.



Prudhoe Bay

 A destination for the true adventurer. At seventy degrees latitude Prudhoe Bay is one of the most northerly locations in the United States. Stand on the shore of this old-field boom town and look across the Artic Ocean to watch the midnight sun skip across the horizon.



Accommodations
University of Alaska, Fairbanks campus apartments; double occupancy bedrooms and full bath shared by up to four on second floor. Some apartments have two flights of stairs. Arctic housing in small rooms in rustic former pipeline camps; single rooms and/or private baths may not be available in Arctic. Hotel/cabin complex in Denali National Park area, 6 miles south of the park entrance.
Meals and Lodgings
   Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
  Fairbanks Alaska 3 nights
   Deadhorse Camp
  Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse 1 night
   Slate Creek Inn
  Coldfoot, Alaska 1 night
   Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
  Fairbanks Alaska 2 nights
 Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
Type: Other
  Description: Check in at SAC in coordinator's room at noon, but participant rooms will not be ready for occupancy until after 3 pm. Luggage may be left with coordinator until then. The Student Apartment Complex (SAC) is a condo type two story apartment, NOT A DORM ROOM. The kitchen, dining area and living room are downstairs. Living room has couch and chairs. There are two bedrooms and a full bathroom upstairs. Four people share a unit. SINGLE ROOMS APPLY ONLY TO BEDROOM, BATHROOM MAY STILL BE SHARED WITH ONE OR TWO OTHER PEOPLE IN THE UNIT. All units require climbing one flight of stairs, some require two.
  Contact info: Upper Campus
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775 USA
phone: Non-e 0-00-0 x-
web: www.uaf.edu
  Room amenities: Refrigerators, microwave and telephone in each apartment. Small coffee pot, get supplies from coordinator. No television in apartments but TV may be watched in coordinator's living room. No elevators in units.
  Facility amenities: Swimming pool and recreation center with weight lifting apparatus and running/walking area on lower campus. Approximately $8 per day for use. ATMs in dining hall. Sundries and snacks may be purchased in campus book store and dining hall. Free laundry in housing unit. 24 hour computer access in nearby dorm. Campus dining outside of program meals not always available--try to have lunch before you arrive on campus on your first day. Some fast food restaurants nearby, but it's a bit of a hike.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Two bedroom suites, up to four people share a full bathroom. SINGLE ROOMS APPLY ONLY TO BEDROOM, BATHROOM MAY STILL BE SHARED BY ONE OR TWO OTHER PEOPLE IN THE UNIT.
  Additional nights prior: About $50 per room per night Call the University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Housing at 907-474-6769 and check availability. Housing in regular dorm rooms bathroom/shower down the hall. SAC only available for Road Scholar Program use. Dorms with more than two floors have elevators.
  Additional nights after: About $50 per room per night Call the University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Housing at 907-474-6769 and check availability. Housing in regular dorm rooms bathroom/shower down the hall. SAC only available for Road Scholar Program use. Dorms with more than two floors have elevators.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Deadhorse Camp
Type: Field Station
  Description: We are staying in a contractor's field camp at Prudhoe, giving us a unique opportunity to experience the "industrial heritage" of this section of the Arctic Ocean The Base Camp Building has a kitchen and dining room where we will eat. It also has two bathroom facilities one for women and one for men, that are shared among all workers and guests. Our living quarters are in a separate one story building a short distance from the main building. There are two gender separated bathrooms with commodes and shower facilities within this building also. In both facilities (and in keeping with general practice in Deadhorse), all guests are requested to remove their shoes/boots in the entry way of both buildings. The company provides slip on nylon booties to wear over your socks or you may elect to bring some lightweight slip-on shoes to wear inside the facilities. .
  Contact info: Mile 415 Dalton Highway
Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734 USA
phone: 907-659-3088
web: deadhorsecamp.com
  Room amenities: Very simple, very basic accommodations. Each room has two twin beds and a small closet. No non-emergency use phones, no televisions nor alarm clocks. These rooms are small but we we are only in them for one night. No bathrooms in the rooms--all bathrooms/shower facilities are down the hall.
  Facility amenities: Dining room. Conference room with cable TV and large plasma television. There are office phones that may be used in an emergency only. Some cell phone carriers do work in Prudhoe. No internet access. Outdoor shoes/boots must be removed when inside the buildings.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: No private bathrooms. All bathrooms are down the hall, are gender segregated and are shared among all workers and guests.

 Slate Creek Inn
Type: Motel
  Description: Coldfoot Alaska is not much more than a wide spot in the road, a small oasis of basic accommodations in the remote Arctic wilderness. Located in the Brooks Range in a gorgeous setting. We are staying at Slate Creek Inn, in small rooms that are clean and neat but extremely rustic by urban standards. The rooms have two single beds. We will try to get rooms with private baths, but this is not always possible if those rooms fill up before we get there. (We are guaranteed rooms, just not those rooms.) We may be housed in rooms without bathrooms, with showers and commodes down the hall located in separate men’s and women's bathrooms that are shared among guests on each floor. The dining hall is across a gravel road from the motel. Van transportation available if requested.
  Contact info: None
Coldfoot, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-678-5201
web: www.coldfootcamp.com/index.cfm
  Room amenities: Very small rooms, no TV, no television, no alarm clocks. If we get rooms with private bathrooms, they have a commode and shower. Bottled water in rooms, towels and washcloths. Expect to live out of your suitcase.
  Facility amenities: Telephones in restaurant across the road.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: We usually get rooms with private baths, but this is not always possible if motel is full. We may be housed in rooms without bathrooms, with showers and commodes down the hall located in separate men’s and women's bathrooms that are shared among guests.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration at coordinator's apartment starts at noon. Participant rooms available after 3 PM. Luggage may be left in coordinator's apartment between noon and 3 PM. You will be staying at Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks that night.
  End of Program:
Ends after breakfast on last day. Breakfast will be served until about 10 AM. Check out is at 11 AM. You will be staying at Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. To access the Arctic Ocean, a state issued picture Identification document (Driver's license, State ID or passport, for example) is required. You must also sign a Denakkanaaga waiver to participate in our program.
  Parking availability:
Fees charged for parking. Parking in apartment complex parking lot, vehicles accessible.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fairbanks Alaska
  Nearest city or town:  Anchorage, Alaska (365 miles south)
  Nearest highway: Parks Highway
  Nearest airport:  Fairbanks International
  From End of Program
  Location: Fairbanks Alaska
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Fairbanks

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

4 miles

 
Driving Directions
  Fairbanks International Airport Drive east out of the airport unto Airport Road. Continue east on Airport Road about a mile and a half to the corner of Airport Road and University Avenue. (Large Fred Meyer store and Safeway store on right.) Turn left unto University Avenue. At the next light, turn left unto Geist Road. At the second light, make a right on Thompson Drive, onto the campus. Take the first right out of the roundabout then follow the road straight ahead. The road bears left to circle around to upper campus. Cutler Student Apartments are on the right. They are west of and slightly behind the Moore/Bartlett/Skarland dorm complex. (Detailed map will be included in the information letter.)
Elevation Note: Only crossing Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range with a stop for a lovely view. Atigun is at 4800 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Since we drive into working areas, in order to access the Arctic Ocean, participants must have some kind of eye protection. Regular glasses or sunglasses are acceptable.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration/Orientation
(Tuesday, July 16)
   
 Arrive To: The coordinator's apartment opens at noon. Participant rooms are available after 3 p.m. Luggage may be left in coordinator's apartment between noon and 3 p.m.
 Dinner: Dinner at 5:30 p.m. in campus dining hall, followed by a short orientation to the program.
 Evening: Orientation to the program around 7:00 p.m.
   
Accommodations: Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Icons of the Arctic--Field trip to the International Arctic Research Center and the Large Animal Research Station
(Wednesday, July 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: NOTE: This itinerary has been crafted a year ahead of time, using the best information currently available. Everything on this schedule will be covered but the sequences may change by next summer. Also, as we get closer to the starting date, events in Fairbank may be announced which we may want to participate in and these will be added to our program if possible. We begin with a field trip to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) International Arctic Research Center. Class on the development of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and their impact on the state.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Field trip to the Large Animal Research Station. The research station is a branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology. Studies of the large ungulates of the Arctic, the musk-oxen, caribou and reindeer, have been ongoing for decades. A researcher or station guide will talk about the biology of the animals and the ecosystems they inhabit. A strong focus is on the different adaptations that the species have made to the same environment. Life cycles and survival strategies will be explained. Pelts, skulls, antlers and horns will be available for hands-on examination and study. One of the highlights of this field trip is the opportunity to see and learn about the musk-oxen. In the same way that seeing giraffes and zebras in the wild indicates you are in Africa, the musk ox is an iconic emblem of the Arctic-you could see bears, wolves and whales in their natural habitats in many other places in the world, but if you want to see musk-oxen in their natural habitat, you must travel to the Arctic. (And have a bit of luck while you're here.)
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: This program has a special focus, offering you the chance to see and participate in one of Alaska's Summer Festivals. Attend the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, a rare opportunity to watch Native athletes from all over Alaska compete in feats of strength and endurance. The games are ancient and were a way of gathering nomadic tribes together to socialize. It also gave the hunters, gatherers and craftspeople a chance to both practice and to display the skills that helped to keep them fit for the rigors of living totally off the land. It's a huge summer family reunion for the Native tribes of Alaska and is always a highlight of summer in Fairbanks.
   
Accommodations: Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: UAF Museum of the North
(Thursday, July 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Field trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The museum is a world renowned circumpolar research center with extensive collections and information gathered from current and past scientific expeditions in Alaska, America's only arctic state. The museum offers exhibits on Native culture, post-contact history, geology, fauna, flora, the gold rush, the pipeline, the Aurora, plus rotating art and photo exhibits, all housed in a beautiful and striking architectural gem. Special emphasis on Arctic and Sub-Arctic ecology and environment, and the people who inhabit this northern edge of our world.
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Field trip to downtown Fairbanks. Road Scholar is hosted in Fairbanks by Denakkanaaga. Denakkanaaga is a non-profit educational organization founded by the local Athabascan Elders of the indigenous tribe of the vast Interior of Alaska and Canada. Denakkanaaga is housed in the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor's Center. The center has exhibits and dioramas on the people of Interior Alaska and the ecosystem we live in, with a focus on Athabascan life in the past and in the present. The Alaska Public Lands Information Center, a storehouse of information and exhibits on the public lands in Alaska, is also located in the same building, as is the Fairbanks Visitors and Convention Bureau. We will have access to films and possibly presentations from their staff. Walk around downtown and check out the Ice Art Museum, featuring a video on carving the ice sculptures for the March Fairbanks Winter Carnival World Ice Art Championship. The museum includes actual ice sculptures shown in a refrigerated case. The Fairbanks City Museum is also downtown, along with statues commemorating the "first family" to cross the Bering Land Bridge into the Americas. There is another set of statues nearby commemorating the Lend Lease program, when the American government was flying planes up to Alaska and then on into Russia to support the Allies during world war II. There are also history plaques about Fairbanks and Alaska and beautiful flowers in Golden Heart Plaza on the banks of the Chena River.
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Our second night at the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. Hang out with the people of Fairbanks and watch different athletic competitions.
   
Accommodations: Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Flight to the Prudhoe Bay oilfields and work camps
(Friday, July 19)
   
 Breakfast: You will be invited to make up a sack breakfast the night before at the coordinator's apartment. We usually have boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, cereal, granola bars, juice, etc available for you to choose from. Depending upon the time of our plane departure, breakfast will either be eaten in your apartment or will be taken with us to eat at the airport while we wait for our luggage to be weighed, sorted and loaded.
 Morning: Details on our flight to Prudhoe will be finalized shortly before our program starts in July. The time frame for taking off is anywhere from about 6:00am to 9:00am. The schedule depends upon flying conditions and group size. The planes we use depend upon the load we have to carry. The flight takes about 2 hours and if the weather is clear, we fly low enough to see the land we will spend the next three days driving over. Arrive at Prudhoe Bay on the North Slope of Alaska. Called the North Slope because it is a vast plain that slopes "down" to the north; its rivers empty into the Arctic Ocean.
 Lunch: We expect to be in Prudhoe in time for lunch. Lunch at a pipeline worker's camp
 Afternoon: Take a bus tour of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. A guide will explain the structures and talk about the different companies that have field camps there. Stand on the shore of the Arctic Ocean. Be brave-dip your toe in. A full immersion gets you a certificate. (Towels provided) IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS SEGMENT IS DEPENDENT UPON THE U.S. TERROR LEVEL WARNING IN PLACE AT THE TIME OF OUR TRIP. So far, we have always been able to access the oil fields and the ocean.
 Dinner: Dinner included.
 Evening: Spend the night in Deadhorse, the small private "community" in the Prudhoe Bay oilfields that consists of two hotels, one store, and one post office.
   
Accommodations: Deadhorse Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Drive through the magnificent Brooks Range, summiting Atigun Pass
(Saturday, July 20)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Head south on the Dalton Highway to eventually return to Fairbanks. The Dalton Highway is the only contiguous road in the country that links the Arctic with the Alaskan Interior and the rest of North America. Originally just referred to as "The haul road", the Dalton was built in the mid 1970's to enable construction of the pipeline. Today it is the access road for the pipeline maintenance camps and the Prudhoe Bay oilfields. Learn about the technology and engineering of the pipeline and get some close up pictures of it. Commentary in the van by very experienced guides. Topics include the various ecosystems we will drive through, topography, history, geology, land use, flora and fauna, etc. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as we merrily roll south.
 Lunch: We usually stop for a picnic lunch near Galbraith Lake. The picnic spot is on the boundary area between Gates of the Arctic National Park and The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Politicians refer to The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as "ANWR" when they battle over whether to open this area for oil exploration or to leave it as undisturbed wilderness.) The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge lies about 1/2 mile east and Gates of the Arctic lies about 3 miles west of our picnic stop. One of the most gorgeous places at which I have ever eaten a sandwich.
 Afternoon: Summit the Brooks Range going over spectacular Atigun Pass. Atigun is a continental divide. All waters on the north side of the pass flow into the Arctic Ocean; on the south side, all waters flow into the Yukon River. The views both north and south are stunning. Discussion continues on the local environment and the Arctic in general. Continue to Coldfoot, the first restaurant and lodging encountered in the 239 mile stretch south of Prudhoe.
 Dinner: Dinner at the "Trucker's Cafe" in Coldfoot.
 Evening: Field trip to the Coldfoot Interagency Visitor's Center for a lecture on various northern topics by one of the Gates of the Arctic National Park Rangers who staff the center.
   
Accommodations: Slate Creek Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Field trip to the old gold rush town of Wiseman/cross the Arctic Circle
(Sunday, July 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Field trip to the former gold rush town of Wiseman, founded in the early 1900's. Wiseman had hundreds of residents in the early 20th century. Today it has a population of approximately 15 people. Visit with the locals who still live off the land and will discuss subsistence living in the Brooks Range with us. After our visit to Wiseman, we will continue to drive south towards Fairbanks.
 Lunch: Continue the drive south. Stop on the north bank of the Yukon River for a picnic lunch. Visit the Bureau of Land Managements small Visitor's Center at the river. Walk down to the bank of the river to dip your hands (or whatever) into the waters of the mighty Yukon.
 Afternoon: Drive over the only bridge in Alaska that crosses the Yukon River. As we drive south, we will cross the Arctic Circle (with a stop for photos of course) and return to the Alaskan Interior. The Dalton Highway ends at Livengood about 70 miles north of Fairbanks where we switch to the Elliot Highway. The Elliot is one of the oldest highways in Alaska, built during the early 1900's to access the gold fields north of town. On the way back, we make a stop at a homestead/highway lodge to use the outhouses. As we get closer to Fairbanks, you'll have a chance to observe a small private gold mine visible from the road (just looking, no access). Arrive in Fairbanks.
 Dinner: Since we're never sure what time we get back, we always have a simple dinner at the coordinator's apartment in Fairbanks.
 Evening: Return to Fairbanks, pick up the luggage you left behind and settle into your campus apartment.
   
Accommodations: Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Field trip to UAF's Botanical Gardens/Graduation and farewell
(Monday, July 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast included.
 Morning: Class: "Alaska Chat" A very informal presentation on life in Fairbanks presented by Denakkanaaga staff. Topics may include the economy, demographics, politics, medical care, schools, wages, health care, plumbing, or lack of, which brings us to outhouses, (a definitely interesting-and fast- experience at forty below) fire protection, keeping cars running at way below freezing temperatures and other varied topics discussing how we cope with a temperature range in the Interior from 99 above to 68 below. Your chance to ask questions of the locals.
 Lunch: Lunch in a campus dining hall
 Afternoon: Field trip to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Georgeson Botanical Gardens. The university was founded in 1917 as the School of Mines and Agriculture. It still does research and genetic breeding to create plants that will not only survive but thrive in a sub-arctic region. The university has developed hardy grain stock and still maintains fields down the hill from the garden. Migrating birds use these fields as a food source and a resting place, most heavily in May and September on their way in and out of the state as they travel to the Arctic to breed. The gardens include vegetables, flowers, fruit trees and a water garden. The vegetables are huge and the flowers are both huge and extremely colorful, due to the almost 24 hours of possible sunlight we get from mid-May into mid-August.
 Dinner: Dinner on campus
 Evening: After dinner we will meet at the coordinator's apartment for a fond farewell. Some people may graduate.
   
Accommodations: Cutler Student Apartment Complex (SAC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Departure Day
(Tuesday, July 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served in the coordinator's apartment, starting as early as necessary and lasting until about 10 AM. Check out is at 11 AM.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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