the north face trousers A cool naturalist’s vacation with Lindblad in the Arctic

If you have yet to experience the life changing travel experiences a man named Sven Olof Lindblad calls an “expedition,” you are encouraged to move to the top of the list. And if you have taken an expedition, but not with the Lindblad family, he believes that you deserve the benefit from so doing. If you need a respite, to recharge or re animate your spirit by seeing the world’s true wonders, an expedition is the most glorious way to do it. Particularly with an organization that has 150 collective years of authentic expedition experience: Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic.

A good example is the Arctic Quest in Greenland and the Canadian Pacific. Explore the ice sheet, spot polar bears, walrus and belugas and narwhals, visit the UNESCO sites (the Inuit village of Sermermiut and Ilulissat Icefjord) and explore Uummannaq, site of Greenland’s impressive Mummy Find.

This is an epic voyage, an in depth exploration of the far reaches of the Arctic, a land where polar bears roam, walruses roll and hardy Inuit communities maintain their traditional way of life. Aboard the National Geographic Explorer, we are able to trace the fjords of Greenland and navigate the eastern entrance to Canada’s Northwest Passage.

On our first day, we arrive in Ottawa and check into the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel in time for a lavish dinner. Early the next morning, Lindblad flies us by chartered aircraft to Kangerlussuaq in Greenland to embark on the National Geographic Explorer at the head of the Kangerlussuaq Fjord. Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers. All aboard ship trace this rugged coastline and search for humpback and minke whales. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, we visit the museum and wander among a jumble of wooden 18th century buildings.

On the next day, we sail into Disko Bay and explore the Ilulissat Glacier, a tongue of the Greenland Ice Cap among towering icebergs. There is time to explore the historic Inuit fishing village of Sermermiut and to visit Ilulissat Icefjord and its immense calving glacier. With any kind of luck, you can spot narwhals. Uummannaq was the site of Greenland’s most remarkable archaeological discovery when a collection of preserved mummies dating back to 1475 was found among the remains of an Inuit settlement. You may recall the mummies featured on the cover of the National Geographic magazine. in Arctic wildlife ecology, and naturalist Tom Ritchie, who has worked with Lars Lindblad specializing in the far reaches of the globe.

Carved by the Ice Age glaciers, Lancaster Sound is the eastern gateway to the Arctic Archipelago. Henning Thing tells us that European explorers like William Baffin first ventured here in the 15th century to search for the Northwest Passage. Lancaster Sound has been a favorite Inuit hunting and fishing location for hundreds of years. The days spent here are spent searching for ringed seals, Arctic foxes, walruses and polar bears as well as beluga, killer and bowhead whales. While we did not, you may even see the elusive narwhal.

It is rewarding to delve into the region’s human history on visits to vibrant Inuit villages sustained by fishing and artistic traditions and to archeological sites of the Thul people.

Explore the unspoiled Hall Peninsula of Baffin Island. Hike the tundra looking for caribou and Arctic foxes or follow the on board botanist to hear about the hardy Arctic creatures. The rocky cliffs of monumental Lady Franklin Island are used as haulouts by walruses. The ship cruises the coastline in search of these icons of the Canadian North. The southeastern tip of Baffin Island forms the mount of the Hudson Strait and is surrounded by tiny islands. Lower Savage and Resolution Islands are a summer home to polar bears stranded by the retreating pack ice. The vessel stops as we navigate the ice floes and rock in a Zodiac and spot harbor seals in icy waters.

A Lindblad expedition is an immersive journey to the less traveled regions of the world undertaken by an adventurous group of like minded people who are motivated by a common desire to fill their senses and enrich their lives through personal experiences and a deeper understanding of the places explored.

These trips one does not forget for a long time. We arrive in Fairbanks, settle into a riverview cabin at Pike’s Water Lodge and in the morning visit the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum with collections that represent over 11,000 years of cultural traditions in the North, followed by a wildlife drive to our temporary home located within the heart of the park, the North Face Lodge. Travel is in the lodge’s private buses on the otherwise highly restricted Denali Park Road to access prime wildlife viewing areas a privilege extended to the lodge owners and their guests.

Immerse yourself in the remote wildness and north country charm of the North Face Lodge. Here’s a chance to become one with nature and the opportunity to hike with trained nature guides in the protected wilderness back country of Denali Natural Forest Park. Days wind down with nightly presentations by the fireplace that focus on various aspects of Denali’s natural and cultural history including birds, mammals, wildflowers, geology, mountaineering, land use and natural resource issues.

Hear whale blows erupt from calm waters and the crushing booms as tons of ice calve from a glacier falling hundreds of feet to explode into the deep waters. Get aboard the Lindblad vessel and explore with the benefit of the best guest to staff ratio on any expedition team in the area; naturalists ensure varied perspectives. Special permits to remote areas and decades of experience, plus a commitment to spontaneity and flexibility, ensure the most in depth expedition. You’ll make big deposits in your memory bank when you do. The area’s mystery and beauty are completely intact. His syndicated programs are heard on 16 radio stations and through their Web sites worldwide.

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the north face tent mule A cool naturalist's vacation with Lindblad in the Arctic