Dog sledding in the Yukon - OMG To Die For!!
I was looking for somewhere to try and see the Aurora and had researched that April 2016 should be the best time for a few years. Knowing this I planned my northern hemisphere travels around this date, however when I started looking for somewhere to try to see it - wow it is EXPENSIVE!
What I did come across though was various dog sledding adventures in the Yukon in northern Canada. As my time was limited I opted for the 7 day mushing adventure during which I learnt to harness and connect my team, drive them through the tracks and trails, feed and care for them, and most of all enjoy the wilderness while being pulled across the white expanse of the Yukon by my very own dog team. It was an incredible experience and even though the spring thaw was a month early and caused quite a bit of headache for the ranch team, they were very competent in making sure it didn't spoil out experience at all.
There was an unfortunate indecent where another member of my group couldn't stop her dogs (and didn't tell our guide!!!) and smashed into the back of me heading down the steep slope coming out of Bonneville. She crashed full tilt into the back of my heel and while I thought it was just bruised, an xray a few months later (after an extended recovery period) told a different story. I had a cracked heel bone. The result of this was that the rest of the group went to top camp without me and I had to stay at the lodge for 3 days and stay off my very bruised foot.
I've not been that angry in a very long time - and you know what - rightfully so I think. Accidents happen and I have no challenge with that but the fact that we had been told over and over and over again that stopping was the most important thing and that she neglected to tell anyone and consequently I paid the price.
Cest La Vie - it means I can go back and have some experience for the 14 day trip. Mwaa haa haa ha!
My Favourite Memory:
Being on top of Bonneville with my team. I remember stacking it really hard at the bottom of a hill (I stopped braking too early) and being so very proud of myself that I hung on to my sled. I finally got my shit together and got up only to see Rugar looking at me with this ultimate look of pity on his face. I know dogs expressions and he was thinking "oh struth how did we get this unco??".
The timing was amazing for me as it wasn't too cold, however the team at the ranch tells me February is the best time. Its quietest and is consistently very cold so the trails are amazing. Consistently cold translates to -20 though. Far out - how do you go to the loo in that??
- If you can justify the expense (or will use them again) take your own boots - they have boots but with my dodgy feet they flat out wouldn't have worked for the week. I was lucky it was mild weather and I could use my own trekking boots with really good socks, however good quality snow boots would put you in good stead. Consider the temperatures though: down to -30 possibly.
- Use their jackets and gloves - they are rated for what you need and well worth the small hire cost.
- Try to get up to Dawson City if you can afterward. Its a nothing town but its very cool at the same time. Everything is on the piss which is something to do with the land subsiding. I can't remember but I went up after for just two days and loved it. Possibly impassable in the dead of winter though.
- One whole day in Whitehorse is probably enough. Not a lot there and you can see it in a day.
- Listen. LIsten and Listen. You can't ask too many questions and the guides are all amazing. You learn something different of each one so over the week you will pickup heaps as you go along.
- You can't take photos when you are underway so unless you have a go pro its possible that you won't get photos of you with your team unless you ask someone else to take them. You can't drive sleds one handed so you can't take pics of yourself.
Click any photo to view larger versions.