Everything I need to know I learned caribou tracking in Alaska. Also known as reindeer, caribou inhabit Alaska's interior, where herds of these shy deer graze on the vast, treeless tundra. Tracking Alaskan caribou is a way to celebrate the biodiversity of the Alaskan wilderness before the dark days of another long Northern winter set in.
Stay focused: When you're caribou tracking, the only impressive rack you'll see is on the head of a bull -- seriously, caribou buck antlers can grow to almost 40 inches across (the largest for their body size of all deer species).
Patience wins the prize: When you're tracking caribou, the deer know the territory way better than you do. Chillax, this may take a while.
Learn to take discomfort in stride: The mosquitoes are as big as hummingbirds in summer and fall in Alaska, so keep smiling, and bring plenty of bug spray.
Pay attention to the details: You'll need an eagle eye for caribou tracking because little things like faint hoof prints and bent twigs mean a lot.
Less is more: You'll be getting up close and personal with the barren landscape. With fewer distractions, you'll be able to see things from a different perspective. You may even feel your stress level start to drop for the first time in a long time.
Live in the moment: Grab some jerky and prepare for a treat. Observing battling caribou bulls can be exciting and awe inspiring. Watching the drama unfold is a great way to set aside your problems and worries for a while.
Share the bounty: If you're a hunter, chances are you've already cleared a big spot in your freezer for some fat, juicy caribou steaks. Before you dig in, consider sharing your good luck -- or great marksmanship. Friends will appreciate your generosity.
Some things you just can't buy: Take a moment to appreciate a spectacular Alaskan sunrise with your cup of morning coffee. A caribou tracking trip may be the first (and only) time in your life you'll be enthusiastic about getting up before dawn.
Adventure's where you find it: When you're on the trail of a caribou buck, points mean a lot more than travel miles. Your holiday journey doesn't have to cross international borders or involve exotic currency to be dramatic and memorable.
Stop and smell the roses: While your guide is searching for a caribou hot zone, stop to smell the roses -- well the moss and lichen, anyway. This is a once in a lifetime experience, so savor every minute of it.