After the summer season and before the winter season begins, there is a lot of preparation that takes place in the Arctic. Winterizing the buildings, swapping over the summer gear to winter gear and of course training the sled dogs !
Below you will find the progression of summer training into fall for your viewing pleasure.
What a fantastic summer season – thanks to an incredible crew and great guests. I would like to thank Hazel, Anna, Patrick, Sean, Bryan, Ted, Tyler, Rose, Samantha, Robert, Kevin and Lynda for all of their hard work and enthusiasm throughout the season.
The summer has gone and left us with bare trees and frozen ground. The snow did not arrive on time this year. Keeping the roads full of mud and the indoor crew busy sweeping and mopping beyond our usual tolerance. This week the ground has finally frozen solid and the snow has stuck, creating a beautiful white blanket all over Bettles.
The dog harnesses have been pulled out of storage, the snow shovels ready on the door steps, the skis and snowshoes ready to go. The air is crisp and cold with another winter season upon us. As soon as we have enough snow pack on the ground the winter activities will begin. A handful of guests will visit this October, unable to participate in activities that require snow, they have not visited for the dog sledding or snow shoeing but for the sole purpose of seeing the Aurora Borealis. Our fingers are crossed that mother nature will cooperate to provide them plenty of entertainment. October has proven in the past to be an incredible month to see the lights, with this October being no exception.
This just in from Bettles, AK 99726.
Koyukuk Kennel starts winter training !
Aurora Photography Workshop September 2012, March 2013
While enjoying his stay at the Bettles Lodge Al Piecka fell in love with the arctic through a camera lens. Al decided to come back and teach a class dedicated to Northern Lights Photography. This will be Al’s third annual workshop, in 2011 the workshop was a great success with many photos taken and lots of smiles and memories had.
The blueberries are amongst us once again and it is heavenly. Imagine facing a long cold winter with only your blueberries to save you. They say you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you wouldn’t pick your blueberries after you pick your friend’s nose.
The elusive Sheefish can be found in only a few different rivers in Alaska, but they can only be found this size in the Kobuk River (average size is 20 pounds in the Kobuk, this fish is 35 pounds).
When not in the river, they live in ocean lagoons near the town of Kotzebue on the west coast of Alaska. In the fall, thousands of Sheefish run up the Kobuk River from Kotzebue to spawn. Unlike salmon, they do not die and return to the ocean. Sheefish can live to be more than 30 years old. They have a white meat similar to halibut. They are an excellent sport fish as they can be easily caught in the river from shore with a spinning rod. They have been compared to tarpon as they like to jump out of the water when hooked. The flight from Bettles to the Sheefish is one hour in August and we offer guided and unguided trips. A good day of fishing can yield as many as 15 to 20 fish per person (mostly catch and release… except a couple that come back to the kitchen). The record on spinning rod is 53 pounds and was caught in the same place this photo was taken!
Jacqueline and Zoe, Switzerland
The Scouts of Switzerland/Explorer Belt Club
The Swiss have landed in Bettles. Fifty members of the the Scouts of Switzerland/Explorer Belt Club are visiting Bettles and Gates of the Arctic National for their annual trekking excursion. Jacqueline and Zoe, two of the club leaders, explain that in the past the group has visited places like Mongolia, Romania, and Greenland, but this year the leaders picked Alaska as their destination because “a lot of people dream of Alaska…it’s a big wilderness and far form home.” In fact, this year Zoe says, “There was so much interest we couldn’t accept everyone.” The group will be traveling in teams of two or three throughout the backcountry for ten days and will meet back on the Dalton Highway at the end of their journey to travel back by bus to Fairbanks.