Dog Sledding in Juneau

Dog Sledding in Juneau

Most visitors to Juneau arrive on one of the many cruise ships which dock there during their journey up the Inside Passage. To experience this amazing town for just one day seems rather a shame as there is much to enjoy in the area but most of the tourists I saw did not venture far beyond the attractions of the shopping district which largely consists of jewellery stores. Whilst the gemstone jewellery and Alaskan gold on offer was rather striking I preferred to spend my time doing something a little more adventurous.

Summer Sledding

I had long been fascinated by the art of dog sledding but initially thought it would be impossible to give the sport a try as I was visiting in the height of the summer when there is no show at low altitude. I then discovered that a regular competitor in the legendary Iditerod race kept a team of his dogs on a glacier high in the mountains above Juneau and that a local helicopter company would fly you up for a sledding experience.

High Price

Despite the rather hefty expense I decided that this was an opportunity not to be missed and booked my trip. It is safe to say that this was one of the more extravagant excursions that I have undertaken but boy was it worth it!

Rainy Juneau

My journey began at the helipad in the pouring rain. It has to be said that it rains a lot in Juneau and when it rains it really does pour. As we took off I looked bleakly out of the window at the miserable conditions but I shouldn’t have worried because before long we were above the clouds and heading in dry conditions towards the glacier. After a few minutes some little black specs on the ice came into view and the pilot explained that this was the camp in the distance. We soon landed and within minutes I was being introduced to the gorgeous dogs.

Ready for Action

When the dogs realised that there was going to be some action they all started barking and pleading to be chosen. These animals really like to work and I couldn’t believe the enthusiasm they had for their task. A team was soon assembled for me and I received some useful instruction in the art of commanding the dogs and staying on the sled. The dogs were quite brilliant but unfortunately I was not! Sledding is more difficult than it looks and I flew off the vehicle on several occasions, unceremoniously face planting the snow. I eventually got some sort of grip on the situation and absolutely loved the whole experience. You get about 45 minutes on the snow. This is not enough time to master the art but enough to get a real taste for sledding.

 

I was extremely sad when I had to leave. It was a wonderful and really quite surreal adventure up on that remote glacier and one that I would thoroughly recommend to anyone who finds themselves in Juneau. Do your jewellery shopping online and create some great memories with an adventure in the wilderness instead. It is much more fun and looking at the prices in those shops it might well be cheaper to!