Article & Photography by Brianna Breece | Owl Staff
When thinking of a romantic vacation, maybe an island getaway comes to mind. But for my fiancé Joe and I, we had another idea. Joe and I had the opportunity of a lifetime in 2014.
While on a Princess Cruise line through Alaska, we booked an excursion with Alaska Icefield Expeditions, Inc. For about $550 per person, we had the chance to go sledding upon the Denver Glacier. We began with gearing up before the helicopter arrived: lacing our boots to walk on the slippery glacier floor and fastening our orange safety vests.
From the port of Skagway, a helicopter took us flying over the cerulean waterfalls, through the mountaintops, and then landed us on the Denver Glacier. Our excitement grew as we took in Alaska’s sights leading to our adventure.
We arrived at the camp by train and were given a tour by our guide Luther Buhr. He showed us where the workers and dogs lived. Each dog was linked to a long leash and had a white doghouse to live in.
Most of the Alaskan Huskies were a light tan color, some were a dark chocolate brown, and others were gray. One of the huskies had a beautiful tan coat and bright blue eyes. Buhr explained life at the camp. To support themselves and the dogs, the guides receive supplies through helicopters. Other than leaving for personal hygiene once a week, the guides stay at the camp throughout the season for tours and taking care of the huskies.
As we were preparing to begin our dog sledding adventure, the guides broke us into groups of four. Joe and I were paired up with another couple. We hopped onto the dog sled. I chose to start on the back where I would help guide the sled.
The huskies were ready to go, rustling in their harnesses and eager to take off. A stake was the only thing keeping the energetic dogs from taking off too soon. Buhr released the stake and the huskies bolted.
As we started moving, I felt a rush of adrenalin. Guiding the sled was a remarkable experience. We dashed through the snow, the sled bouncing up and down along the path. We traveled in a circle around the wide glacier for about 45 minutes. There was so much to take in at once: the cold wind on my face, the breathtaking views of the glacier, and the beautiful Alaskan Huskies driving the sled.
Our sled stopped to allow the dogs a snack and for passengers to stretch their legs. During the quick break, we were able to meet and bond with the dogs. While I was crouched over petting one of them, it managed to stick its paw in my mouth.
Taking in the breathtaking views of the Denver Glacier, bonding with these dogs, and feeling the cold Alaskan air while sledding was the experience of a lifetime. Although costly, my dogsledding excursion was exhilarating. I recommend considering an Alaskan adventure for your next vacation.