Day 12 Dog Sled Discovery & Mushers Camp

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May 17th 2019
Published: May 22nd 2019
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Day 12


Juneau – Alaska

Dog Sled Discovery & Musher’s Camp

The sun woke us up early so we headed upstairs to the Lido Market to have a buffet breakfast. Breakfast consisted of bacon, scrambled eggs, a bagel, Danish pastries and coffee. If I continue to eat like this I will have to pay excess luggage going home! The food is so good. We decided to do a walk on the Promenade deck as the weather was lovely although cool. The sky was clear with no chance of rain. The ship docked at Juneau just before 12.30 pm Juneau is the capital of Alaska and their main industry is government followed by tourism. It is an island so everything needs to be brought in by ferry or barge. Most of their goods come from Seattle. We disembarked just after 1 pm for our tour to commence at 1.30. The process is quite interesting as the ships security scan your room card and it registers that you are leaving the ship. We boarded a small coach which took us across to another island where the Musher’s camp was and where we were going to meet the huskies. WE drove down a windy unmade road to the camp and saw the dogs all hitched up and ready to take us on our ride. There were 16 dogs for each sled. The dogs were very quiet until they saw the people get off the coach, and then the barking started as they were so excited to go for a run. We boarded a “buggy” on wheels and then the barking became even more unbearable. Off we went! Wow they go really fast and you can just tell that they enjoy pulling the buggy. We had a man guiding the dogs who had entered the Iditarod which is a race from Anchorage to Nome which is1,100 miles. He talked about how important it is to keep the dogs healthy on the race and they run for about 6 hours and rest for 4. At regular intervals during the race the dogs are checked to see that they are well and the rider has a book with the dogs listed and a vet signs them off as they are well enough to race. The dogs ran for around 5 minutes and then we stopped for a photo opportunity and the dogs were quiet again and the 2 last dogs kept in constant touch with each other as in side by side or their bottoms touching. The team of dogs definitely knew that they were going for another run as the 2 back dogs began to jump up and don as if to say come on lets go. Again on command off they went spraying dirt and mud onto us. When we got back into camp they stopped off at their bowls and had a drink. We were able to pat and interact with the dogs. Interestingly the “huskies” that were pulling us looked nothing like what we thought they would be typical Husky dogs. They are bred from all different breeds of dogs so that they have endurance and speed and will cope with these harsh conditions. Some of these dogs have greyhound in them. Some of the dogs had the typical blue husky eyes. Even so they were beautiful dogs and are very well cared for. We then went across to a small gazebo where we were shown the gear that they use in the Iditarod race; from the food the dogs have, to the makeshift stove they carry and the sled that they pull. The man who started the race competed in his last race at the age of 80. The man who drove our buggy was his grandson. After the talk we were taken over to the puppies that were only 3 ½ weeks old. There were 7 puppies ranging from all black, to black with white paws and tan with some black flecks through their coat. He handed them out for us all to have a hold. Oh we fell in love they were so cute. The mother dog was very watchful over her litter. Once all puppies were counted and put back we had a hot chocolate and hot spiced apple cider then we were on our way back to Juneau. We had a walk around the town. We bought some cheddar cover popcorn and a bag of caramel popcorn to take back on board with us. We walked along the foreshore to the Whale fountain and then back to the boat. Juneau was a lovely little town that relies heavily on the 6 month tourist (cruise) season. Boarding the ship they scanned our room key and then our bags needed to go through a security check and we needed to walk through a scanner. It does make you feel safe. We relaxed until dinner. We had dinner in the dining room tonight which was lovely. Back to the room to watch the scenery go bye and waiting for it to get dark. It would have been close to 11 pm before it was almost dark.

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