Our Alaskan Dog Sledding Adventure

There are many ways to tell a story. One is through video. We’ve already shared our Alaskan adventure in a trilogy of award-winning features:

Alaskan Adventure Part 1: From Fairbanks to Coldfoot

Alaskan Adventure Part 2: Northern Lights and More

Alaskan Adventure Part 3: Saying Goodbye

But I’m not done yet.

One part of our honeymoon worthy of being told differently is the Alaskan dog sledding experience.

When we booked our Alaskan Honeymoon, we didn’t know what to expect other than erect nipples. Our main mission was to see the Northern Lights. Since she was a kid, Jenny dreamed of seeing Aurora Borealis. Luckily, she did.

northern lights
Mother Nature is really beautiful away from people.

Coldfoot Camp offered more than just that. One of their available advertised activities is the dog sled adventure. As a dog-lover and someone who likes to sit, I was really excited to do this one.

The night before we left for Alaska, Jenny and I realized that our trip to Coldfoot did not cover the Aurora Tour or the Dog Sledding. Originally, we thought if you paid for lodging, transportation, and everything else you could do the rest. Some information on their website told a different story. This was not an all-inclusive trip. We’d have to pay separately for each activity.

So, we called them up and confirmed how empty our wallets would be to do it all. Even worse, the dog sledding was supposedly out of season for another month per the customer service agent.

We tried our best to keep cool even though I think we both really wanted to do the dog sledding. Prepared to never get dragged through the snow by canines, we accepted the fate and tried to look on the bright side.

As luck would have it, the information we received on the phone was wrong. Coldfoot DID have dog sledding available in late November. Despite the high-cost of over $100 per person, I happily forked over the cash shortly after arriving at Coldfoot to ensure we’d have our chance to do this twice in a lifetime activity. Because yes, we’re going back one day.

Maybe next time I’ll remember my hat and won’t need to wear a girl’s beanie.

Our Alaskan Dog Sledding Adventure

Following an afternoon nap, Jenny and I went to the front of the lodging area to find our dog sled master, Steve. Coincidentally enough, Steve grew up not far from where we live. This created an instant connection and enough small talk until we got outside. I must say, it was the perfect amount. And because we were moving, it was a lot less awkward than getting stuck in an elevator with a coworker you barely know or like.

The walk outside to the dog kennel lasted about five minutes, which if you’ve ever been north of the Arctic Circle, is about as long as you want to spend outside. We met some of the dogs while our guide decided which ones would get sled duty.

As Steve explained to us, there’s an art to selecting your sled dogs. You want the smartest ones in the front. It’s not much different from high school seating and the complete opposite of the way people are positioned at sporting events.

It took about 15-20 minutes before all of the dogs were harnessed up, ready to go. By this point, we were already pretty cold. Little did we know, things were about to get a whole lot colder. I’m talking the heart of an algebra teacher ice-cold.

Even though we had on our big coats, thermals, and a couple of layers we were advised to cover ourselves with two coats they had available to all riders. I didn’t think twice about germs. When you’re in an Alaskan winter, you’ll do anything to stay warm.

Jenny and I were barely prepared when the sled took off. I distinctively remember how cold the air felt as we began to move. When I later saw frost actually forming in my facial hair, I knew I wasn’t being dramatic.

dog sledding
A screenshot from the video Jenny made of us. It’s as surreal as it looks.

When it comes to amusement park rides, Jenny and I have both aged. Last summer, when we visited Six Flags, we were reminded of this by dizzying headaches at great heights. Dog sledding in Alaska is a whole lot different from a rollercoaster. If you fall out, all you get is a face full of snow.

That’s not to say this adventure was completely danger-free. The ride lasted for probably close to 30 minutes. Throughout the ride, there was some ducking below tree branches.

The scariest part of all was on our way back. After Jenny and I each got a chance to actually stand behind the sled and mush the dogs, we encountered a giant moose in the wilderness.

Steve panicked a little bit and did his best to keep the dogs calm while also scaring the moose off. I didn’t get a great look at the beast. Considering it’s one of only a small number of wild animals living this high in Alaska, you know moose are tough sons of bitches.

Following this encounter, the dog sled continued on and took us back. By this point, it was almost 4pm and the sun was barely awake. I think we picked the perfect time to go dog sledding. At the very least, I’m glad we didn’t do the midnight run they offer. You’d have to be insane to do that.

dog sledding
Literally in the middle of nowhere, far away from civilization, freezing to death, having fun.

Just in case you couldn’t be bothered to click the link above, you can re-watch our video below. It includes our dog sledding adventure and a few other clips from our time in Cold Foot.

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