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Arctic Circle Adventures

20 January 2013 2,452 views 3 Comments

Over the course of the past year I have found myself traveling with greater frequency in order to attend auto shows as well as product launches and special events put on by car companies all across North America.  I count myself fortunate to be able to experience so many new places – not to mention new vehicles – as well as meet interesting individuals in the course of my work.

My latest adventure is on a scale that surpasses anything I have experienced.  On January 26, I will be driving a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van from Anchorage, Alaska, up past the Arctic Circle.  As a Canadian, I am well versed in frigid weather, but I have never encountered anything like the extreme climate that is Alaska in January.  In fact, although I have visited almost every province in Canada (P.E.I. continues to elude me), I have never been to any of our three northern territories.  Coincidentally, the night before the invitation to participate in this polar trek arrived in my inbox I had been discussing with my significant other how much I wanted to visit the northern part of the country.

Mercedes-Benz has undoubtedly prepared every last detail of our week-long itinerary, and I am sure that they will provide whatever support is required, but as soon as I received the news that I would be traveling to the Arctic I began to grow the necessary beard that seems de rigueur for all polar explorers.  I have also been devouring whatever materials I can lay my hands on regarding the Alaskan frontier in the hopes that I will be prepared for a week in its icy clutches.  The majority of what I have read can be summed up in two succinct statements: be constantly vigilant for bears (our path takes us through Denali), and the Dalton Highway is a desolate, unforgiving stretch of road (our primary route past the Arctic Circle).

Internet access – or indeed, any form of communication – is sketchy at best along the Dalton, so I will not be able to provide real-time updates of my journey.  Suffice it to say, I am sure I will be able to fill volumes once I am back.

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3 Comments »

  • Dan Proudfoot said:

    Was it you who mentioned on Facebook that a majority of the vehicles wouldn’t start at minus-42? If so, if memory is not playing a trick on me, good for you!

    It’s important we auto journalists write the whole story, not just the nice stuff.

  • Benjamin Hunting (author) said:

    Hello Dan – yes, it was me. I just returned from Alaska last night, and the cold certainly took its toll on our vehicles.

  • Benjamin Hunting (author) said:

    I would like to update, however, that we got the official overnight low for that particular evening and it was -44 C at the airport near our hotel, with somne residents reporting -51 C.

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