Jason and I are so extremely fortunate, although moving around isn't always easy we have had some amazing adventures, we have been to almost every single State, we get to actually spend a lot of time in some places and really enjoy them and all they have to offer and for that I am so grateful. I was thinking yesterday that maybe sharing one of our old adventures would help me feel better about sitting in Estevan waiting to go to Raleigh in 2 weeks!
I wasn't sure which one to share, and truth be told a there have just been so many. I was definitely leaning towards an Alaskan adventure as they were basically most recent, but when Cathy sent me a little joke on Facebook about dog sledding I thought maybe it was a sign.
When we arrived in Alaska I knew that we had to go dog sledding, of all the great Alaskan adventures to be had that was absolutely at the top of my list. This may be surprising to anyone who knows me as I am very much "Don't eat the cow, its so cute" so how could I of all people want to ride around on a sled in the cold (which I hate) with innocent dogs pulling us! Jason was actually against it saying that it was mean to the dogs and he didn't want to partake, I was SHOCKED! Mr. Outdoors didn't want to go dog sledding but he'll hunt?
We were in Alaska for 2 great Iditarod races, what is the Iditarod you may ask? It is indeed the last great race! You can view more information HERE, but the short version is the race is over 1150 miles long, from Anchorage in South Central Alaska to Nome on the Western Bering Sea. Each team has 12-16 dogs with one musher (person) and the race can take anywhere from 10-17 days! Read more about the race HERE. Its pretty incredible to say the least, it takes place in the winter, through the most beautiful and deadly terrain, it is a huge event for Alaskan's and its many tourists!
I did a lot of research and read a lot of articles to see how this was possible for these animals and if they were well taken care of. Truth is, they love it.. this is what they are bread for and although I cannot remember the exact article although I plan to look for it again, there is something in these dogs muscles fibers that give them the exact opposite reaction of humans. When you're running and you start to get tired you can feel it in your muscles, they feel sore and tired.. these dogs are the opposite, they develop more energy. In order to qualify for this race you have to partake in many other shorter qualifying race to ensure that these dogs are prepared for the physical demands and capable of the run, to prevent injuries, etc. Throughout the race certain treatment of these animals are mandatory, boots, jackets, there are vets at every rest stop (which are mandatory) heat lamps, hay, these dogs are really well cared for!
Each musher generally owns a kennel with many dogs which must meet certain regulations, however these dogs are certainly not house pets they have many luxuries that I and I'm sure others would never expect.
I never really let go of my dream to dog sled and the fact that I couldnt imagine a better place to do it! So for Valentines the month we left, Jason booked a dog sledding trip with Dallas Seavey racing. Dallas is a third generation musher living in Willow, Alaska... you can read more of his amazing story and history with the Iditarod and Yukon Quest HERE.
The day of our great adventure we woke up to rain, I was a little disappointed but still extremely excited about going. We went to breakfast before heading down to Wasilla to see a little bit of the snow machine races before heading back to Eagle River where we would take our ride along the river. Once out of Anchorage it was still snowing in Eagle River but once we hit Wasilla it was snowing like crazy and windy.. I wasn't sure this was going to be any better, but whatever.
When we arrived in Eagle River at the park where we were suppose to meet there was another couple that was also going for a ride who were from the lower 48, so we chatted with them for awhile as the mushers were getting the dogs set up.
First let me say the dogs are absolutely beautiful! They were beyond anxious to get to that sled and run, I couldn't believe it. I had a little bit of anxiety upon arriving wondering really was it mean? Do the dogs really hate it and how would we really know? Was everything I read a bunch of
We got a chance to walk around and pet the dogs, they seemed so small to be pulling so much weight but runners are lean and that's exactly what these dogs are... runners.
See his blue eyes? They are harnessed to the sleds and placed strategically in regards to size, strength and age. Although I couldn't tell you exactly where they are best placed they often pair older more experienced dogs with the younger ones as a method of teaching pace, control, etc.
The sleds themselves are quite interesting, they are all completely different and often made by the mushers themselves. Truthfully you wouldn't believe all that goes into a career like this and how dedicated these men and women are to their craft and animals that make it possible. Obviously a lot of assistance is needed as these dogs cannot spend days and days in their kennels and must be run multiple times daily.
These sleds in particular were crafted from hockey sticks.. yup... hockey sticks, among other materials.
And we were off... hopefully they meant little feet too?
The scenery was absolutely beautiful, not much of Alaska isn't. The girl we were riding with was absolutely wonderful and told us a lot about the dogs and their daily lives, etc.. it was wonderful.
While we riding we made a few stops just for us and the other couple to be able to take pictures and the dogs to pee of whatever. It was actually hilarious, they were pissed when we would stop, they would prance around and bark... they did this thing where they would literally HOP 4 feet off the ground as if to say.. GET A MOVE ON! Even though it was cold outside, these poor dogs were sweating, they were eating snow and rolling in it, they essentially made good use of the stopping time they clearly weren't thrilled about.
We had the most amazing day! There is not anything I would change about that day, maybe the sun but in the grand scheme of things that was so minor and not at all on my mind as we flew over the river partaking in this ancient way of transportation still utilized all over the State.
So that is our Alaskan dog sledding adventure! Brings back WONDERFUL memories. Although I cant believe I'm saying it and have been saying it for months now, I really miss Alaska. I think we just got stuck with a bad winter (the worst on record) and a bad summer (the coldest on record) and I hated my job.. so that may have tarnished some of my experience.. but when I look back on the beauty and all that we did I do miss it and all it offered.. HAHA.. hind sight.. you bitch!
So last night we had to do some running around and before leaving I chatted with my Mom who filled me in on some new chips that were out and well I'm trying to get out of fat mode, but when I saw this I couldn't resist...
I am the biggest lover of perogies EVER and when I saw this there was really no turning back! They also had grilled cheese and ketchup (gross!), garlic cheese bread and maple moose. I seriously considered the maple moose ones as well but come on, I didn't need two bags of chips. They are pretty freakin' good let me tell you!!
So to make up for it tonight, this is dinner..(not that I ate the whole bag, or even close.. seriously)