Northern exposure: The Arctic Circle

If you want to do something really different, take a tour to the Arctic Circle. Only 10,000 people per year take this trip, which you can do by air or van. We booked our tour through Northern Alaska Tour Company, which cost almost $200 per person, but something this unique is worth it.

There is nothing like this Arctic desert anywhere else on earth. This tiny piece of Alaska is so vast that it’s hard to imagine how immense the tundra is, even when you’re standing in the middle of it. Here are some still shots, which don’t do it justice:

Alaska: Trek to the Arctic Circle

Picture 1 of 39

Our tour guide was Sundance — yup, that’s her real name — and she’s only lived in Alaska a few years, but she says it’s still exotic to her. At our first outhouse stop, she jumped into the snow to show us how deep it is.

It’s hard to describe the trip in photos, so hopefully this video helps give you a better idea of what the drive was like:

After the tour was done, we went to The Pump House, which is a well-known spot with locals for its standard, hearty bar fare. It’s also a place that tourists can get elk meatloaf or reindeer tenderloin. Here’s what we ate:

Alaska: The Pump House

Picture 1 of 7

One place that comes up a lot when you ask people where to eat: The Pump House. It looks kind of like the Flamingo Chuck Wagon (remember them?) and serves up basic, hearty fare. And it’s always crowded. This was taken at the very end of the night when they were closing.

The Pump House Restaurant & Saloon
796 Chena Pump Rd.
Fairbanks, AK 99708

To see all 173 photos from our day at the Arctic Circle, click here.