Charlie Campbell and Nosy Ruth Althoff in the high country|
About the guides and the area
About your guides
Ruth Althoff and Charlie Campbell are your guides (and proprietors). We have been living in Tanana for thirty three years, and have worked as hunting guides, commercial fishermen, and trappers. We have traveled in the aggregate thousands of miles over this part of the country by dogsled, canoe, on foot, and by snowmobile and riverboat.
We are also committed naturalists with a strong interest in keeping the habitat and subsistence economy of this beautiful land intact. We'd enjoy talking with you about what you see, or just be quiet and let you enjoy the day and this peaceful country.
About the area
Culturally, this part of Alaska has been a crossroads for hundreds of years even though it is not on the road system today. The village of Tanana is located at the confluence of the Yukon and Tanana rivers close to an aboriginal trading site called Nuchalawoya.
The Koyukon Athabascan people were and still are the main inhabitants of the area, and in addition to being employed around and outside the village, are subsistence fishermen, hunters, and trappers of the boreal forests, rivers, and the open tundra and mountains to the north. Today they travel by snowmachine, dogsled, boat, and bush plane.
Habitat ranges from river-bottom forests and wetlands, to dry alpine tundra ridges, to tussock flats, to 5000 foot mountains, with the unifying feature of the Yukon River flowing through it all. It is way off the beaten track, and very beautiful, with long vistas of river and wooded hills and high alpine mountains. Moose, caribou, wolves, wolverine, black and grizzly bears, lynx, marten, and a variety of other small animals and furbearers live here.
Everyone helping with camp chores
About our trips
We travel in a low impact style, and try to maintain a spirit of mutual helpfulness, with everyone encouraged to pitch in. As a practical matter this means help feeding and caring for the dogs who pull our sleds in winter or carrying a share of the food and gear on the backpacking trips; help setting up and breaking camp, getting water, firewood, and carrying the community food as a team effort. Within the limits of safety and the art of the possible, we try to make group decisions by consensus. Our specialty is trips of a week or longer.
You don't need prior experience for our trips, we'll teach you what you need to know about sled dogs and rafting, but you do need to be in good physical condition. Our trips are STRENUOUS, but are certainly doable by a sixty-something year old in good shape who has put in the time to get him or herself into condition before the trip.
We offer substantial, tasty, and nutritious food; local fare if you are interested, freeze-dried dinners on the backpacking sections where weight is a consideration. We can accommodate vegetarian or diabetic diets.
Safety and careful planning are paramount on our trips; we are trained in First Aid/ETT, and make a point of having a contingency plan which we will share with you. However, in Alaska we can at times be at the mercy of the weather and be delayed on that account, but we'll do our best to work around it. We carry a satellite phone in case of emergencies.
Planning out the next days route
You may want to do one of these planned trips at another time to try to fit your schedule, or do a different trip that is tailored to your ideas. We specialize in trips a week or more in length; in order to get into the remote areas where we are going we need time both to travel and to develop the expertise to get there. In general, the scheduled trips are for people age 15 and up. If you'd like to explore other areas of Alaska, we’ll consider putting together most any kind of custom trip you might be contemplating. Give us a call and we'll see what we can do.
Evening in the Tozi cabin