Friday, 29 May 2015

Dog sledding on Norris Glacier

It's a 30 minute winter wonderland ride in a  helicopter ride to Norris Glacier, and dog sledding/ mushing is a definite  bucket list .... I am super excited, and so is Rob.  It's the highlight of our trip!
I can't keep the smile off my face...



Both of us can't believe we are in the middle of Alaska, on a glacier in the middle of this incredibly beautiful land of snow and ice, Alaska  bought by the USA from Russia for 7.2 million $!!!!


This is taken from the helicopter as we are arriving at the  camp... I am astonished.. There is NOTHING, WHITENESS only! Just a few tents and masses of small white  "igloos"... It's vast whiteness is almost bewildering and hard to take in... And this is Spring, not Winter!


Getting closer, as we hover to land... Will the helicopter slide?


Right! We landed safely... ( would have gone out with a smile on my face if not)


The "igloo" shapes turn out to be dog kennels for the 193 dogs on the glacier in this camp.  The dogs are incredibly well taken care of, and the people who own them are passionate about their dogs.  When they do the long races, the mushers( people who give commands to the dogs) even sleep with their dogs...these dogs get special food and great care.  


Our dogs that will pull our sled...


 Sam (Samantha ) is our musher.  She LOVES her dogs...


Rob stands behind me, in charge of the brake.. And off we go... The dogs are excited.  They love pulling the sleds, and the only reason they stop is because  Rob stands on the brake .



There is a serrated bar, and Rob stands on it  first with one foot and then the other, and the sled stops.  I have a turn to stand.  And Rob walks to sit down.


You can see one dog in the lead, her name is Simple, the lead dog sets the pace, and  listens for the commands from  the musher.  Simple is about 10 years old, and very experienced.


The Swing dogs  are the next dogs, they follow the lead dog, help to set the pace, and steer the sled around thecorners. 


Wheel dogs are directly behind the sled and are the strongest dogs, pulling the most weight.  Duke was our wheel dog..  I was worried about him because he kept pulling to the left into thick snow.  See below... And Rob has posted a short clip of our ride on fb.


The dogs love the snow, and whenever we stopped took advantage to play..like kids...


Another sled, gives an idea of the vastness of white...


This is what I expected a sled dog to be, a blue eyed husky... And some are, even though they are smaller than most huskies we know in SA.


Simple, our lead dog, wearing booties to,protect her feet.  The dogs even get sun screen on their noses, and some get eye protection - the glare from the snow can be blinding...


The dogs love their pats and praise...


Duke was a surprise!  He doesn't look like a sled dog!  But Sam tells us that the blood lines are kept very pure , based on the dogs' strength, attitude to "working",  their capacity to eat ( consume calories) and a other traits.  Duke is strong, loves pulling and also loves the deep snow - a real character


Incredible dogs, that fascinate me... A giant lick.. And I leave part of my heart with the dogs...










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