Wrangel Island Overland Traverse

Overland Traverse, Wrangel Island, E Bell

In co-operation with the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve we are excited to offer a limited number of seats on a very special Overland Traverse through the heart of this incredible landscape. For curious explorers who join us to circumnavigate Wrangel Island, there is no reason to just wonder what lies beyond the coast, over the crest of the hills and mountains. The High Arctic environment that very few people will ever experience is now accessible and exclusively available to passengers travelling with Heritage Expeditions on selected 'Across the Top of the World' expeditions.

We are offering a limited number of seats on these very special 3-day (2-night) Overland Traverses. A true expedition in every sense, this is a rough and tumble adventure for those looking to explore well beyond the road less travelled and don't mind stepping out of their comfort zone. Built for conquering the corrugated terrain - not comfort - transport is by a formidable, six-wheel Russian Tundra vehicle. While travel days can be long, there are countless opportunities for wildlife encounters and exceptional photography during your journey. At night, retire to the rustic surrounds of authentic Wrangel Ranger huts and enjoy hearty and nourishing camp-style fare.

Each off-road traverse across this rugged island is led by rangers from Wrangel Island and offers lucky guests a first-hand experience into the wilds of this remote region. We have been offering these traverses to adventurous guests since 2011 and numbers are strictly limited; we encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment.

Depending on the weather, wildlife and other external elements, guests will enjoy one of the following three Overland Traverse options:

Option 1
Day 1: Doubtful Harbour On arrival the Overlanders will go ashore and spend the afternoon and evening exploring the area including the nearby spit known for large haul outs of walrus. The overnight accommodation will be Wrangel Ranger huts at Somnitelnaya.

Day 2: Peak Tundra Travel north firstly over the southern tundra slopes to a mountain pass through the Somnitelnie Mountains and down to a tributary of the Mammoth River, the longest river on the island. In the evening we will enjoy a walk looking for Snowy Owls, Lemmings, Arctic Foxes and a huge variety of High Arctic plants. Stay overnight at the Peak Tundra hut.

Day 3: Academic Tundra (Dream Head) Continue down the Tundra River to the Academic Tundra, an extensive area that makes up over half the island. There are opportunities to see amazing fields of wild flowers, Musk Oxen, and potentially reindeer. We will return to the ship around midday.

Option 2
Day 1: Doubtful Harbour On arrival the Overlanders will go ashore and spend the afternoon and evening exploring the area including the nearby spit known for large haul outs of walrus. The overnight accommodation will be Wrangel Ranger huts at Somnitelnaya.

Day 2: Neozhidannaya River Travel west over the tundra as we follow the Mammoth River. Depending on the amount of snow we may need to travel via Devil's Creek, the only archaeological site on the island where remains of a Paleo-Eskimos summer camp were discovered. Enjoy an evening walk on the tundra and stay overnight at the Neozhidannaya Ranger Huts.

Day 3: Cape Thomas
As we follow the Neozhidannaya River to Cape Thomas on the Western Plateau we will be entering Musk Oxen country, and be on the lookout for this elusive animal. Polar Bears are often seen at Cape Thomas, a known denning site, as well as Snowy Owl, Snow Bunting and Lemming. We will return to the ship around midday.

Option 3
Day 1: Doubtful Harbour On arrival the Overlanders will go ashore, spend the afternoon and evening exploring the area including the nearby spit known for large haul outs of walrus. The overnight accommodation will be Wrangel Ranger huts at Somnitelnaya.

Day 2: Neozhidannaya River Travel west over the tundra as we follow the Mammoth River. Depending on the amount of snow we may need to travel via Devil's Creek, the only archaeological site on the island where remains of a Paleo-Eskimos summer camp were discovered. Enjoy an evening walk on the tundra and stay overnight at the Neozhidannaya Ranger Huts.

Day 3: Ptichy Bazar As we make our way up to, and along, Goose River to the birding cliffs of Ptichy Bazar we will be looking for Musk Oxen and Arctic Fox. Enjoy fantastic views from the cliffs and over the coast where Kittiwakes, gulls, puffins and cormorants can be seen during nesting season. We will return to the ship around midday. 

Northbound and Southbound options available. Southbound itinerary will operate in reverse to the above itineraries.

Price: US$1,450

Price Includes: Transport, accommodation (basic field huts) and meals. (This is in addition to the cost of the cruise)

Price Excludes: Travel insurance, gratuities and other items of a personal nature.

Note: This Wrangel Island extension is an optional activity and conducted in conjunction with our voyage but independently operated by the Park Rangers. It is subject to minimum numbers, reserve regulations, weather and ice conditions. The journey can involve long hours (up to 12) in an off-road vehicle over rough terrain. Given its location and isolation, occasional extreme weather conditions may be encountered. Participants should be aware that there is no discount or compensation for missed landings that the main expedition makes, possibly including Herald Island while participating in the extension.

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