Goin' to the Dogs: Sky Trekking brings clients to the Iditarod trail

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WASILLA, Alaska -- Sky Trekking Alaska, which operates year-round airplane excursions to otherwise inaccessible areas of the Last Frontier, announced details of its Iditarod Trail Adventure, a 12-day program that follows the Iditarod Dog Sled Race from its start in Anchorage to its culmination in Nome.

The trip, scheduled for March 2 to 14, shadows the 1,049-mile race from checkpoint-to-checkpoint.

Sky Trekking said the trip is designed for adventurous clients who are up to the challenge of exploring Alaska in the winter.

Clients shadow the Iditarod Dog Sled Race along its 1,049-mile trek from Anchorage to Nome. The itinerary is designed for adventurous clients and focuses on Alaskan culture and wintertime activities. The trek's focus largely relies on the pace of the race, although the overall itinerary is designed to give clients an appreciation for Alaska, its people and cultures, and wintertime activities.

Sky Trekking's pilots and guides use ski-equipped bush planes to fly along the Iditarod race route and make stops in Talkeetna, McGrath, the Yukon River region, Unalakleet, Nome, Shishmaref and Mount McKinley.

Along the way, the itinerary includes time to observe the race and have a hands-on experience mushing a dog team, along with ice-fishing, mountain snowmobiling, cross-county skiing and snowshoeing.

It also includes daily flightseeing and an aerial tour of Mount McKinley -- the highest peak in North America -- for a birds-eye look at its high granite cliffs and glacier-filled valleys.

Overnight accommodations will be at four locations: Wasilla, McGrath, Unalakleet and Nome.

Wasilla is located 50 miles north of Anchorage and is the site of the Iditarod restart. Overnight accommodations and meals on March 3, 4 and 5 will be at the Best Western Lucille Inn, a property located on Lake Lucille featuring views of the Chugach Mountains.

McGrath, a main race checkpoint, is located on the Kuskokwin River 220 miles northwest of Anchorage. Overnight accommodations and meals on March 6 and 7 will be at the Takusko House, a bed-and-breakfast.

Unalakleet is located on Norton Sound in the Bering Sea. Mushers change sleds at this point to the lightweight racing sleds required for traversing the Norton Sound sea ice and final push to Nome.

Overnight accommodations and meals here on March 8 and 9 will be at Brown's Lodge, the town's top-rated inn.

In Nome, guests will stay at the Nome Nugget on March 10, 11, 12 and 13. The historic hotel is located near the race's finish line in downtown Front Street.

This portion of the itinerary also includes a trip to Shishmaref, a Yupik Eskimo village famous for its carved whalebone and ivory. Located 85 miles north of East Cape, Russia, Shishmaref features hot springs, lava beds, archaeological sites and a variety of wildlife including fox, wolves, moose, caribou, wolverine and polar bears.

The price of the land-only trip is $8,400 per person, double. It includes accommodations, all meals, air travel within Alaska, services of a guide, all planned activities, an Iditarod 2002 embroidered jacket and a Sky Trekking gear bag and hat. Commission is 10%.

For information or reservations, call (800) 525-3153 or visit www.alaskaonthefly.com.

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