I am thinking about August. I decided---perhaps a little madly---that I longed for the North (this was before our long winter started). It's really costly to go to the North Pole, so I settled on Svalbard, Norway.
From the web site:
"What kinds of wildlife are found in Svalbard?
Wildlife in Svalbard are arctic fox, different kinds of seals, beluga, minke whale, mouse, polar bears, walrus, reindeer, ptarmigan, arctic owl, and a great number of different birds in summertime."
I look forward to the mouse!
There are more than twice as many polar bears as there are people but I suspect that I won't see any. I won't be able to take long hikes, as I was planning. I read that if you want to go hunting law requires that you carry a rifle!
"if travelling outside settlements you are required to carry a rifle at all times to protect yourself. They can be rented for about 150 kr and up per day, but starting 2009, a valid gun license is now required; those without a gun license can apply for temporary permission to rent a rifle: all that is required is to fill out an application form ( ) and a certificate of good conduct (i.e. proof of no criminal record) which can be e-mailed to the Svalbard Police Department. Processing may take up to 4 weeks, but has been known to work even on the same day with some luck. However, for most people, it's better to stick to guided tours. Do not underestimate the speed of polar bears (you cannot outrun one). Polar bears can be extremely unpredictable and are far more dangerous than European brown bears. Note that you are in no way allowed to kill polar bears without it being an immediate threat to your life."
Although I have been hoping that my tour is ecologically friendly, I am going to have to do more planning. I have never held a gun and I don't know how to use one. And I will not on many many principles. So now I will find guided tours that will be sanctioned and, I hope, ecologically friendly.
The sun will shine all night long and the temperatures will be about 40 degrees F.
And yes, I am really going. This might be my final "big trip" because I travel as a "reward" for working. When I retire, I will have a more limited and modest scope.