advertisement

Getting There -- Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) flies a couple of times daily to Barrow from Anchorage, by way of Fairbanks. The fare from Anchorage is $600 or $700. You can save by booking their 1-day and overnight tour packages, described in "Exploring the Town & Getting Outside," below. Book them through Alaska Airlines Vacations (tel. 866/500-5511; www.alaskaairalaska.com).

Visitor Information -- The City of Barrow has a small visitor center, at Momegana and Ahkovak streets, near the airport and Wiley Post & Will Rogers Monument, with a guide to talk to, maps (including a numbered walking tour map), and other publications. Hours are changeable but have been daily, summer only, from 10am to 4:30pm. To obtain advance information, contact the City of Barrow, Office of the Mayor, P.O. Box 629, Barrow, AK 99723 (tel. 907/852-5211, ext. 231; www.cityofbarrow.org).

Special Events -- The return of the sun after 2 months below the horizon is met by traditional celebrations on January 21. The Piuraagiaqta, a spring festival, takes place in mid-April and includes many fun events. In the tea-making contest, couples race to set up a camp stove and melt ice to make tea. If the traditional bowhead whaling season is a success, the Nalukataq takes place in late June, usually on a Saturday, but the actual date depends on the preference of the successful captain. It is his responsibility to feed the entire community. The Eskimo blanket toss is also a traditional element of the event (injuries are common, so don't take it lightly). In the fall, generally from early to mid-October, the whale hunt launches from the beaches of town (rather than the ice, as in spring). If you're lucky, you can be on hand as a whale is pulled ashore and butchered by the community. This usually occurs at the NARL runway, north of town; ask around, as everyone will know if a whale has been landed.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.