JU NEAU That?
Juneau Travel Blog› entry 8 of 18 › view all entries
was the punch line of a joke our morning guide, Ron told us on our way back from the Dog Sled Summer Camp. He was a funny, older man who seemed to love his job. I could see why, Juneau, a pretty, colorful city and the capital of Alaska is settled at the base of a mountain, conveniently called Mount Juneau. There is also an island; Douglas, across from Juneau. It is only accessible by aircraft or boat and has more vehicles than people! Did Jun neau that? haha
Our morning started at 4:05am. That's when the light started coming through between the opening of the curtains I had purposely left open so as not to miss anything. (scenery, wildlife, etc) I went to the balcony to see snow capped mountains took a couple pictures then went back to bed.
I didn't know what to think when we approached our destination of a muddy area with about 200 royal blue dog houses with the same number of dogs! Upon arrival, we were taken to a wooden building where each of us had to sign a waiver; I suppose in case a dog attacked us or we fell out of the sled! A man then gave us an introduction about the camp, dogs and the iditarod race. The dogs here are not the true Huskies and Malamutes seen on television or in the movies. Most were smaller at under 50 lbs and were interbred! We were then split into 3 groups of 6 and met our personal musher, Abbie West and her boyfriend while every dog was barking. Abbie has raced in the Yukon Quest. We could barely hear Abbie as she talked about the dogs and introduced us to the 13 that would be leading our sled.
We hopped into the wheeled sled, which is used in the summer since the real sleds are used in the snow. After the initial jolt around the corner, the sled ride was actually smoother than the bus ride. We were going a little faster than 10mph which for races, 10mph is the normal pace. We were about halfway through the 1.5 mile track, making a left turn, when all of a sudden, 2 dogs started barking and fighting with each other! We had to stop so Abbie's boyfriend could separate and calm them down.
Back at the camp, Abbie took us to 2 tents; the 1st one had picture displays of Iditarod sled dogs, including Balto and Toko. They were actually part of an original team that delivered the Diphtheria serum to the people of Nome.