What better way to get into the swing of Alaska than heading into the wilderness with Frodo, Dos, Python, Cora, Pirate, Willow, and another sixty Alaskan sled dogs. We drove down to the kennels at Earthsong Lodge after breakfast and got acquainted with the dogs. John Nierenberg, the owner of the lodge, gave us a rundown on how to control the sled, and it was soon time for us to mush on our own. It began snowing. We stood anxiously on the sled brakes, bobbing up and down as the dogs tugged feverishly at the towrope. Running is clearly in their blood, and all they want to do is go. The guides gave the go ahead and we released the brakes. The dogs exploded off the line, leaving us at the mercy of their jet fighter-like acceleration. We hung on for dear life as the dogs reached a blistering cruising speed of eight miles per hour. All right, so they weren’t quite jet fighters, but for all of the adrenaline junkies on the trip, it definitely did the trick.
It wasn’t long before we had gotten the hang of it and were mushing through the open tundra. We could now relax a little and take in the spectacular views that Denali has to offer. We were surrounded by miles of rolling hills dotted by spruce trees with a backdrop of towering peaks that pierced the clouds. We traversed fields, lakes, and narrow tree lined paths along our twenty-mile journey. By the end of the day, though we were exhausted, all we wanted to do was keep sledding. The fresh air, the amazing views and the incredibly friendly dogs themselves made for the perfect post-travel day. They gave us an adventurous and lively start to our journey and got us all excited for the rest of the experiences to come in the next three weeks.