Alaska Day 9 - Denali National Park - Horseshoe Lake and the Sled Dog Kennels

Denali National Park Travel Blog

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Reflections in Horseshoe Lake. Photo is UPSIDE DOWN!

The weather still looked promising, but the forecast for tomorrow was without doubt better, so we planned the bus tour on the park road for tomorrow. That gave us some time to catch up some sleep. While our neighbors left the lodge at 5:00 am I gladly turned over in my bed for several hours of more sleep....

We made a 6-km (4-mile) hike on a recently opened trail to Horseshoe Lake. Unlike yesterday the hike lead us down, about 100 meters (330 ft) to a marshland with small mirror surfaced lake holding crystal clear water. The presence of several beaver dams taught us that we were once more close to the park's fauna.

Speaking of fauna. That was our next item for today. A visit to the Sled Dog Kennels of the park. Since Denali National Park does not have roads into the park's interior, and even if those were available they would be blocked by snow most of the year, the park uses an old means of transport: the Dog Sled.

Sled Dog Kennels
The Dog Sled has played an important role in the history of Alaska. The city of Nome was saved from diphtheria by sled dog teams delivering a curing serum that could not make its way into the city via other means of transport.

The first superintendent of the Park, Henry P. Karstens, also understood the importance of the sled dogs and bought several with the federal money he received for the park maintenance. Nowadays the park still maintains this tradition and owns about 30 Alaskan Huskies. These friendly and hard working dogs just love their work and are being taken care of well by the park rangers and volunteers. Each dog is walked every day by a volunteer! The dogs can be visited in their kennels.

Savage River
Some remain in their dog houses other just love to play with and be patted by the tourists. A few times per day the park rangers give a demonstration of the dog sledding. Several dogs are chosen to work in the demo, pulling a sled with wheels. But the real work starts when the snow has come.
More info on each (!!) of the sled dogs is here. And as long as it lasts look here for a live view on the puppies via the so called PuppyCam.

It was still light and we still had energy, so we once more drove the park road to the paved "end" and made a 3-km (2-mile) hike along the Savage River. No trees this time, just water, rocks, and tundra.

More pictures below!

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Reflections in Horseshoe Lake. Pho…
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake. Ph…
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Savage River
Savage River
Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake
Rocks surrounding the lake
Rocks surrounding the lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Reflections in Horseshoe Lake
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Sled Dog Kennels
Puppy in Sled Dog Kennels
Puppy in Sled Dog Kennels
Savage River
Savage River
GPS Height profile for the Horsesh…
GPS Height profile for the Horses…
Denali National Park
photo by: Vikram