Dog Sledding

Juneau Travel Blog

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The Dog Sled Camp from the helicopter

I knew that the ONLY thing I wanted to do on this cruise, if nothing else, was to go dog sledding.  It was very expensive, about $400, but my mom and I both thought, "When will we ever be in Alaska again and have an opportunity like this!?"  It was an early morning excursion and it was still very foggy; everyone around kept saying the helicopters don't fly in the fog because it's so dangerous and we were starting to get bummed out.  When our bus came to get us at the pier, we learned that it was only foggy on the pier-nowhere else.  :)  We got to the helicopter hanger and my mom was so scared she was crying.  We eventually got in and we got the front seats with the pilot, so we have great video and pictures from the ride.

My mom and I with front row helicopter sits. That man behind me was so mad!

We flew up to almost the top of Mendenhall Glacier where they have a dog sled camp set for the summer.  The dogs there are dogs that actually race the Iditarod (the biggest dog sledding race in the world that goes across Alaska).  The dogs were so cute and very lean.  They were very friendly and started barking as soon as we went over to them.  They knew it was going to be time for them to start running.  We rode in the helicopter with a few different people and each sled only holds a group of 3.  There was a family of four and they had teenage kids so the parents didn't want to be separated from their kids and there was an Indian couple and they did not want to be split up.  My mom and I ended up being split to two different mush teams.

A little rest in the trail for pictures
  The mushers told us when we stopped they would wait for the other guy's team to come so we could take pictures together.  That's the only thing you have to keep in mind is that you might be split from the people you are there with.  It's a two or three mile trail and you can see all the sled teams going, so you will see the people you are with, it's just that it's more fun to be on the same team as the people you showed up with.

The sled was set up that there were two dog sleds harnessed together.  The real musher (the guy who's team it was) was in the first sled giving commands and somone was sitting in his sled and the second sled had a tourist musher and another tourist sitting inside.  The tourist musher has real work to do; when the real musher stops his sled, the tourist musher has to brake to keep the second one from sliding into the first.

My mom with her team
  We were mushing at about 30 mph.  It felt very fast if you were the musher.  The musher stops the sled at different areas and tells you about the dogs and how they train, this is also the time where you switch tourist mushers.  I got lucky and one of the people in my group didn't want to do it, so I got to do it twice.  The first time, we hit a jump in the trail and I didn't fall or anything.  The second time the musher was video taping me, these guys have such great balance on the sleds, and we hit this hole and I almost fell off.  It was pretty funny actually.  It is worth the money just to have the experience.  These guys work so hard and the dogs are incredible.

ewrewr12 says:
you can buy the same thing from another providor once you get off the ship for cheaper
Posted on: Mar 24, 2009
bkretzer says:
Great Blog. I had no idea they even offered such an excursion!
Posted on: Feb 23, 2008
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The Dog Sled Camp from the helicop…
The Dog Sled Camp from the helico…
My mom and I with front row helico…
My mom and I with front row helic…
A little rest in the trail for pic…
A little rest in the trail for pi…
My mom with her team
My mom with her team
Mendenhall Glacier from the helico…
Mendenhall Glacier from the helic…
Little dog sled puppies
Little dog sled puppies
9,167 km (5,696 miles) traveled
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photo by: amudha_colaco