Reed Travel Features
BETTLES -- Only the hardiest souls need apply for a place on the
tours of Sourdough Outfitters, an operator based here in this tiny
village north of the Arctic Circle.
Sourdough offers some of the most rugged programs on the market
anywhere -- dogsledding in the snowy winter wastes of the Brooks
Mountain Range and the Gates of the Arctic wilderness.
They are not, admittedly, as taxing as the famous annual
Iditarod dog sled race, known as the Last Great Race, that takes
the dog teams more than 1,000 miles from the ceremonial start in
the streets of downtown Anchorage to the Norton Sound community of
But participants in Sourdough Outfitters' tours cannot help but
develop a deep respect for the mushers -- as the dog team drivers
are called -- who compete in the Iditarod.
Mushing is hard work, and only the strongest outdoors
adventurers can hope to enjoy the Sourdough product.
The least demanding of the tours is a mere six days long and
covers only 100 miles from Bettles through the spectacular
mountains and forests of the central portion of the Brooks
By the end of each day (a 20- or 25-mile leg), most participants
are only too glad to curl up in their rustic wilderness cabin or
Departures are scheduled from February through April at a price
of $1,800 per person.
As is the case with all Sourdough itineraries, the price
includes Fairbanks-Bettles roundtrip air, meals, lodging, Arctic
gear and training.
There is a maximum of six people per tour, and each group is
accompanied by an experienced Arctic guide.
An eight-day, 150-mile Gates of the Arctic tour costs $2,200 per
person and features tent accommodations throughout.
The most demanding of Sourdough's three tours is an eight-day,
150-mile trek through the treeless, wind-swept slopes of the
northern part of the Brooks Range.
So forbidding is the terrain that this tour is not scheduled
until mid-April, by which time winter has eased its grip.
The tour costs $2,250 per person.
For information, write to Sourdough Outfitters at Box 90,
Bettles, Alaska 99726 or call (907) 692-5252; fax (907)