Dog Mushing in a Punch Bowl?…AK
Our last day in regular Alaska, we decided to bite the bullet (and our wallet) and go dog mushing on a glacier. I’m not gonna lie, it was expensive. We really thought about the chances we’d be in Alaska again, weighed that against the cost, etc. In the end, we decided it was worth it. It can be arranged through Alpine Air Alaska.
We were picked up from the Hotel Alyeska and taken to a hanger to catch our helicopter! I don’t know which thing my kids were more excited about, the helicopter or the dog mushing. It’s a small hanger and office with helpful staff and pilots. The day of our adventure, there was lots of cloud cover and it was quite cold, even in August. We wore our ski gear, but they provided cold weather gear to go over it.
Properly outfitted, our family of 5 had to be taken up in two shifts since the copter could only hold 4 including the pilot. Which sort of goes against my rules about flying. My crazy (I’ll admit it) theory is that if the transportation is questionable, we all go together. That way if something happens, we all go down together. Here’s the copter at the top of the glacier:
The dogs that are up here are sent by owners to train for the summer since it is the only place there is (for sure) snow, on top of a glacier. Everything up there is flown in by this helicopter and it kind of feels like you are in a science fiction movie on another planet. We met an old retired champion sled dog while the guides hooked up all the other dogs.
We took a route around the glacier, stopped and met all the dogs. Our family of five was split into two groups/sleds. Our lead dogs garlic and gravy (they knew a fellow food lover when they saw one) were so sweet and were ready and raring to go. I even got to drive! There is not really any acceleration, they just go full speed and all you have is a break that you lean on with all of your weight. We even got to see ice worms mating, which they rarely do during the day.
The website shows beautiful pictures of sledding on the glacier with blue skies overhead, which was not the case for us. It was a magical experience just the same. Not many people can say they have been dog mushing on the top of a glacier. After a lovely looping ride, we warmed up in a hospitality tent with hot beverages while we waited for our helicopter to arrive for the ride back. Since we had seen a working dog mushing kennel earlier in our trip, this brought the concept full circle for the whole family.
It remains one of our favorite memories of the trip. Next stop, the Alaskan Bush Country!!!