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View of Mountains from Dog Camp on Alaska Icefield
Riding on a dog sled across a brilliant white snow field is a dream come true. Visitors to Alaska can fly in a helicopter from either Skagway or Juneau to a summer training camp for sled dogs high up on a glacier. Visitors on either a large or mid-sized cruise ship or a small expedition cruise ship can have this same experience in Juneau.
Summer dog sledding on the icefields and glaciers of Alaska was started in the mid-1990's, and Alaska Icefield Expeditions has two camps, each with over 200 dogs. Visitors have the thrill of a helicopter ride to and from the glacier, along with an opportunity to meet the dogs and mushers and ride in a dog sled across the snow and ice. The helicopter ride alone is a great adventure, but the dog sledding made it extra special.
The truly adventurous can spend the night in a private hut at the glacier camp and learn to mush their own team of dogs. Doesn't that sound like fun?
One note--this excursion is expensive and is sometimes canceled due to... inclement weather.
Dog camp residents can enjoy this amazing view every day.Continue to 2 of 24 below.
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Dog Sled Camp in Alaska - Alaska Icefield Expeditions
Alaska Icefield Expeditions operates two summer camps for dog sledders--one near Juneau and the other near Skagway. Over 200 dogs and 10-12 mushers and staff.Continue to 3 of 24 below.
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Dog Sleds and Musher Accommodations at Alaska Icefield Expeditions Dog Camp
The mushers stay in these quonset-like huts on the Mendenhall Glacier.Continue to 4 of 24 below.
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Dog Sled Camp - Alaska Icefield Expeditions
Mushers stay in these huts while working at the summer dog camp. They get a chance to go into Juneau one day a week for a shower and a break.
Wouldn't you like a summer job that involves living in a hut on a glacier and learning all about dog sledding?Continue to 5 of 24 below.
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Mendenhall Glacier Dog Sled Camp from Helicopter Flightseeing TourContinue to 6 of 24 below.
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Dog Sled Husky
Most of the sled dogs are a mixture of the Alaskan Husky and various cross breeds, such as the German Shorthaired Pointer. All have double layers of hair.Continue to 7 of 24 below.
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Alaska State Flag at Alaska Icefield Expeditions' SiteContinue to 8 of 24 below.
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Playing with the Sled Dogs at Mendenhall Glacier Summer Camp
This black dog named Pandora reminded me a lot of our dog back home. He also loves to play and demands attention.Continue to 9 of 24 below.
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Dog Camp on the North Fork of the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska
Every dog has his/her own dog house at the camp, but most dogs sleep outside on the snow or on the roofs. They think their houses are too warm!Continue to 10 of 24 below.
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Musher Sean Williams at Alaska Dog Camp on Mendenhall Glacier
Sean is originally from Texas, but loves working with the dogs in Alaska. He hopes to run the Iditarod in a couple of years.Continue to 11 of 24 below.
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Dog Sled Heads Out of Camp on Mendenhall Glacier
The dogs are enthusiastic to run, and it doesn't take the mushers long to hook up their harnesses. The dogs seem to love their jobs, and all want to go along.Continue to 12 of 24 below.
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Mendenhall Glacier Dog SleddingContinue to 13 of 24 below.
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View from a Dog Sled on the Mendenhall Glacier
Riding in the sled is more comfortable than standing on the back, but the dogs kick up ice and snow into your face constantly.Continue to 14 of 24 below.
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Dog Sled Tumble on the Mendenhall Glacier
Ashley and Cathy leaned the wrong way going around a turn and took a tumble. Fortunately, only their pride was hurt.Continue to 15 of 24 below.
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Dogs at the Summer Camp on the Mendenhall GlacierContinue to 16 of 24 below.
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Dogs Enjoy Watching the Tourists, Too!
On a clear day, over 100 tourists might visit the dog camp, a dozen at a time in two helicopters.Continue to 17 of 24 below.
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Dogs at the Summer Camp on Mendenhall Glacier
I was pleasantly surprised how "pet-like" the dogs were. They loved being petted just like our dog back home.Continue to 18 of 24 below.
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Dog Sled at Dog Camp on the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau
Sleds such as this one are used for the tourists. They are great fun to ride in!Continue to 19 of 24 below.
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Dog Sled PuppyContinue to 20 of 24 below.
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Alaska Icefield Expeditions Summer Camp on the Mendenhall GlacierContinue to 21 of 24 below.
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About Cruises Guide Linda Garrison and Dog Sled Puppy
Everyone loves a cute puppy, and this one might grow up to be the "lead dog" someday.Continue to 22 of 24 below.
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Alaska Icefield Expeditions Summer Camp on the Mendenhall GlacierContinue to 23 of 24 below.
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Alaska Icefield Overnight Accommodations
The mushers were quick to point out that their huts are not as "luxurious" as this one. See the next photo for an exterior view of the hut B&B accommodations.
An overnight at the Alaska Icefield Expeditions Bed & Breakfast starts at the TEMSCO helicopter facility, where you have a safety orientation and get outfitted with warm glacier boots.
Next, you take an amazing flightseeing helicopter ride over the glaciers and Juneau icefield to the dog camp on the north fork of the Mendenhall Glacier. Once there, you'll get a chance to meet professional Iditarod and Yukon Quest mushers who love running and racing sled dogs. They love to share their dogs, experiences and love of the North Country with you.
Visitors practice with the mushers and the sled dogs before mushing their own team, learning the the skills necessary to command the dog team (like gee, haw, and whoa) and navigate the glacier trails. A hearty evening meal prepared by the camp cook and (mostly true) dog... sledding stories are a big part of the overnight adventure. The hut is comfortable, but not luxurious - after all, you are camping! Warm flannel sheets, a thick comforter, and heater will keep you warm during your night on the icefield.Continue to 24 of 24 below.
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Alaska Icefield Expeditions Bed & Breakfast - Overnight Accommodations
For those who love to stay in exotic locales - how about a night on a glacier? The bed & breakfast includes a helicopter ride, private hut, dinner, breakfast, and dog sledding.
See the previous photo for more information on the Alaska Icefield Expeditions Bed & Breakfast.