Our afternoon excursion was the "Musher's Camp and Sled Dog Discovery." Excursions to Iditarod training camps are offered at several ports in Alaska. I'd venture to say that it is one of the most popular Alaska excursions. They advertise puppies and who doesn't want to go see puppies?
We were picked up by buses near the cruise port and taken on a short ride to the base of the training camp. Here are some gorgeous pictures of the area. Alaska is so pretty!
The main part of the camp is located in the mountains and we had to take a special open-air, all-terrain vehicle, named McGyver. On the way up, Felix and I got to sit up front with the driver. I can't remember his name, but he was a great tour guide and that's him in the picture below. This was a special experience, especially for Felix, who loves all manner of vehicles.
The purpose of the camp is to train dogs for the Iditarod race. In summer, when there is no snow, they use sleds with wheels to run the dogs through a forest trail. They use the tourists to not only give the dogs exercise, but also to acclimate them to being around different people and situations. It's a win-win scenario.
The sled ride is a lot of fun, but only lasted about fifteen minutes. The dogs are really excited to run. They bark and are a bit unruly when they are stopped, but as soon as the musher gives the command to run, they get in the zone and all you can hear are their paws pounding the ground.
After our ride, we had an opportunity to pet the dogs, while they cooled down with large buckets of water.
Next, we saw a short presentation about the Iditarod race.
The best was saved for last: the puppies! We were able to cuddle puppies that were just a few weeks old. This is the part where everyone melts. Puppies.
Just before ending our excursion, we visited a look-out, where the views were stunning.
The "Musher's Camp and Sled Dog Discovery" is a fun excursion (Puppies!), but now having done similar tours on both Alaska Cruises, I don't think I'd do it again if I returned to the area. It's a great pick if you're traveling with children or an animal lover, but the entire tour is very rushed. The time on the sled and with the puppies is short, maybe 15-20 minutes each. They really jam in the tours, right behind one another, so there is no time for lingering. It's a cool experience, but it doesn't feel personal.
Next stop= Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve!