Monday, February 11, 2013

A Dog Mushing Alaskan Adventure

More and more people are becoming aware of the Iditarod race.  Some even make the trip up to try to experience a little bit of the race excitement at the start and finish lines, and even in some of the small checkpoint towns along the way.  But how can you experience the sport in an even more personal manner?  Why not visit some of the mushers themselves, learn more about the animals, and even take a ride on a sled yourself?  The Innkeepers of the Alaska Bed and Breakfast Association invite you to be our guests during your dogsled mushing adventure!

Photo by
Some dog breeds are just not happy unless they are working, and it's true that mushing dogs are working dogs.  So what does a musher do with his or her team in between big races?  To keep the animals in shape and happily working, many mushers offer mushing experiences and tours for visitors and tourists.  Whether you want to just see the animals and the equipment, or hop onto a mushing sled itself, a large variety of options are available all over the state.  Your Alaska bed and breakfast innkeeper will be glad to point you to the nearest place for the perfect dog mushing experience!

Mushing Experiences for Tourists
No matter when you visit, there is an opportunity to either learn about the dogs and the sport of mushing, or to experience it first-hand.  Guests are always thrilled to see the dogs up close, and to feel what it's like to be on a sled:  and unforgettable experience that is finding its way onto more and more "bucket lists."

Canine Meet-and-Greets
Owners often open their dog yards to visitors, letting them meet the team and learn all about the animals.  Guests see how the dogs are kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer, learn how the animals are trained and what they eat, and much more.  If your trip is timed right, puppy-cuddling and playtime may also be included in the experience!

Sample Mushing Rides
Owners may hook up their teams to give visitors a taste of the Alaska's State Sport.   This experience is sometimes combined with the Canine Meet-and-Greet activity.

Mushing Tours
Tours can range from part of an hour to most of a day (or more)!  You are usually introduced to the tools, the dogs, and shown the basics before the on-sled tour starts.  During a tour, you are usually handed the reins to experience the thrill for yourself.  Sometimes the mushing tour is just one part of a larger experience, while other times it IS the experience!  Outerwear is often provided for cold-weather runs, but check with your chosen tour company to be sure.

Winter Dogsled Tours
Photo from BBIC Member
Minnie Street B&B
Of course, this is the most "realistic" tour of all:  standing on a sled with a team of talented canines whisking you across the winter snows.  You may visit parks, part of the Iditarod trail, or even somewhere even more remote.

A combined experience often takes guests to a remote area of the state, whether it be onto a glacier, into a park, or to other sites.  Guests are flown into the location, and the dogsled team is waiting there to either return guests to their starting point, or offer a sledding experience there at the remote location before guests are flown back from whence they started.  These tours can often be done in the summer as well as the winter.

Summer Dogsled Tours
Some handlers continue to work their teams through the summer by way of a wheeled cart which the dogs gladly pull over wilderness trails where you can both enjoy the dog-sledding experience and see the area flora and fauna.  As always, visits to the dog yards and cuddling with the young pups is included!  Mushing experiences are available all over the state.  Most can be found in the Interior near Fairbanks, where the largest population of mushers reside.  The South Central area is probably the next most populous where mushers are concerned.  However, your Alaska bed and breakfast innkeeper can guide you to nearby dog sledding experience, no matter what part of the state you decide to visit!

Enjoying a vacation here in Alaska might be considered the very best way to "get away from it all."  And what better way to enjoy the time here than to spend it at one of our numerous bed and breakfasts? Choose an inviting room in any of our member inns and know that comfort and warmth await you after your dog-sledding activities.  So plan your Alaskan vacation today and we'll make sure you have the time of your life!


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