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The Artisan Blog
It might still feel very much like autumn here in the UK but the snow has most definitely arrived in the Arctic Circle! The onset of the new winter season is something that we get very excited about here at Artisan Travel. Not only do the winter months allow for a whole range of exciting Arctic activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing, but they also give our clients some of the first opportunities to go in search of the Northern Lights!
If you're anything like us, you’ll have been cancelling your Sunday night plans to spend it in the comfort of your own sofa watching David Attenborough’s latest masterpiece, Blue Planet II. Whether it is marvelling at the scenery, or wondering how anything can live in the depths of the ocean, we're sure you’ll have been on the edge of your seat and wanting to head out and explore the wonders of the ocean for yourself.
With that in mind, here are three holidays to help you experience the depths of the underwater world.
"The next twenty years are the blink of an eye"
Quotation source: My father on my 50th birthday (thanks for that dad!)
I love this photograph. It may not be the greatest composition in photographic history but, for me, it sums up exactly what the Artisan Travel Company is all about.
The picture was taken in Alaska, somewhere north of the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway (of Ice Road Truckers fame) and it is the moment I fully realised that I had well and truly ticked off my number one bucket list item.
Coldfoot, Alaska is a truck stop, little more. The 2010 census recorded that just 10 permanent residents live here and its name (formerly a mining camp called Slate Creek) is said to derive from a time when gold prospectors would labour this far north, get “cold feet” and head back home.
Coldfoot - A Tiny Slice of Alaskan History
There’s a saying that is popular among residents of Alaska.
“If you cut Alaska in half” they’ll say with undisguised pleasure, “Texas would only be the third largest state in America.”
to truly get under the skin of America's 49th state would take a lifetime
We all know that Texas is pretty large but, from the temperate rainforests of the south to the Arctic tundra in the north, Alaska is immense and to truly get under the skin of America’s 49th state would take a lifetime of exploration. In the north particularly, the terrain becomes pretty inhospitable, magnificent but inhospitable, and light aircraft have become an integral part of life in the more isolated northerly parts. I’ve enjoyed some remarkable flights in my time but the journey across the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks to Coldfoot will last long in the memory.
Ice Road Truckers – The Nicest People You’ll Never Meet
My life working in travel has taken me to some spectacular places and along the way I’ve met countless fascinating and kind-hearted people but, it was the people I didn’t meet on Alaska’s James Dalton Highway who impressed me as much as anybody.
Next services 240 miles
The Dalton Highway was built as a service road to support the construction of the Alaskan Pipeline and nowadays its principal purpose is to serve the oilfields in the far, far north of America’s 49th state. Kings of this particular highway are the huge trucks that ply their trade along its 414 mile course and any fans of the TV programme “Ice Road Truckers” will be familiar with their burly, lumberjack shirted drivers. Theirs is a dangerous job. Here in Alaska’s wildest frontier there is little in the way of shelter or support for any driver whose truck breaks down or, worse yet, crashes. The road signs tell the story best. For example, as the truckers head south from Prudhoe Bay they encounter the news below.....
That was the cry in the late 1890’s which sparked one of the greatest human stampedes in history. The rumour mill was rife and, motivated by tales of nuggets as big as a fist just waiting to be picked up off the ground, a wave of humanity headed towards the vast northern wilderness. In those days there was no TV, no internet and no mobile phones so the news slowly filtered down to Seattle and San Francisco from where it spread like a gathering wildfire across North America and further afield.
From all corners of the world, it is estimated that at least 100,000 wildly optimistic would-be miners set out for the north with absolutely no knowledge of what lay ahead. They had no inkling of the long bitter winters that awaited them nor did they know of the huge distances to be negotiated across the vast, untamed and largely uncharted wilderness that lay ahead. From the UK, Europe, Australasia and elsewhere they came; lawyers, dentists, factory workers, teachers, newspapermen, conmen, farmers simply gave up their work and headed north in search of the Promised Land.