For a completely off-the-grid Alaskan adventure, Ultima Thule Lodge takes some beating. Hidden in the enormous Wrangell-St Elias Mountains, deep within North America's largest National Park and hundreds of miles from the nearest road, this wilderness experience truly lives up to its name.
Each of the lodge's handcrafted cabins is packed with home comforts; soft feather beds, comfortable armchairs and iron stoves. Every item is either made by hand on-site or ferried in by the same small planes that carry the lodge's visitors. With bleached moose horns on the walls, furniture draped with animal hides and covered porches offering stunning views of the Chitina River and surrounding mountains; nature is everywhere, inside and out. Just steps from your door, the inviting wood-fired sauna completes the idyll.
When it is time to explore, things get exciting. This is a place so remote that many of the mountains do not even have names, and where the only way to get around is via the lodge's fleet of small planes. Flown by skilled pilots, these nimble aircraft can set down in hidden valleys and tiny sandbars where no one has ever been before. There is no set itinerary. Guided by Alaska's changing weather, every trip is unique, whether you are exploring frozen caves beneath mighty glaciers, walking across heather-strewn hillsides as eagles wheel above or spotting bears scooping fish from clear rivers.
Once the day's adventures are done, head to the lodge for some fine Alaskan cuisine, featuring organic vegetables from the greenhouse and warm, freshly baked bread. Then sit out on the deck and swap stories as the lowering sun turns the mountains a gentle shade of pink.
Ultima Thule only accommodates a maximum of 8 guests. You arrive on a Sunday and depart on a Thursday. They are not flexible on this. Generally by Christmas they are booked solid for the following season. If a family does a private buy out they can accommodate up to 12 with kids sharing parents rooms etc.
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