Friday, July 6, 2018

Skayway and Sled Dogs!

Our first port day was in Skagway, and the nice thing about this port is that the shopping district is right at the port.  Everything is within walking distance and is clustered together into a few streets.  Skagway is pretty small, and there were only a few restaurants there.  I guess I expected more from a port town, but we just got a snack at port and ate lunch on the ship anyway. 

We let the kids take pictures of the adults and it was hysterical listening to them say, "Smile nicely!"  "Look at the camera!"  "Stand still!" just like we do when we take pictures of them.

In Skagway, our excursion was visiting an Ididarod musher and riding a summer sled pulled by Alaskan Huskies.  We booked with a private company instead of going through Disney.  It was significantly cheaper and we read that this excursion allowed a lot more time with the sled dog puppies than the Disney excursion.  Puppy cuddling was of utmost importance to many of the members of our group!  This was THE thing Abby had been looking forward to in the last year!!

Our tour was wonderful!  We rode a tour bus about an hour or so away over the Canadian border to the Yukon territory.  During our drive, our guide pointed out all kinds of sights, gave us some interesting information, and stopped for a photo op.

Our tour guide was appropriately named Harry, and he was fantastic!  He was funny, but family friendly, and answered all of our questions.

Anna really liked his beard and decided she wanted one too.  She stayed like this for most of the trip!

When we got to our destination, Abby was beside herself and practically bounded off of the bus to get to the puppies!

There were 3 litters of puppies, and Abby of course found the one who was most cuddly!

She aptly nicknamed him Cuddles.

Caleb really liked this guy, who loved being carried around like this!

I have to admit, the dogs were pretty sweet!  I loved every second of the cuddling!

This was the momma of the youngest litter.  She was so sweet and gentle!

You had as much time as you wanted to cuddle the puppies, and Abby took full advantage!  There was a play house set up to look like a musher's camp,

a tire swing,

a shed set up with racing memorabilia from the owners' races in the Ididarod and Yukon Quest,

and a sweet old hound that was one of their pets.  She was definitely not a racer!

After we'd gotten our fill of the puppies (is there such a thing?!), we rode on a 4x4 pulled by the sled dogs!  This is their summer training and they pull the summer sleds multiple times a day whether there are visitors to the camp or not.  When the dogs saw the musher Michelle, they got SO excited!  These dogs love to run!

We were pulled on a trail through the woods and stopped about halfway so that the dogs could dip in the lake for a few minutes.  They were so cute!

Michelle was SO gentle and quiet with the dogs!  She constantly praised them and you could tell she genuinely cared about every dog.  Most of this team has run the Ididarod with her.

Abby and Michelle

Our time at the musher's camp was over much too quickly, but we patted down the kids to check for stowaway puppies and boarded the bus.  During our ride home, our guide stopped at several locations for pictures.

This was Tutshi Lake, and it was FREEZING, thanks to the glaciers all over the place!

We were lucky enough to spot a bear right next to the road!  The driver pulled over and we oogled over him for a few minutes.  He is actually a cinnamon-colored black bear, which I found so interesting!

After our tour was over, we walked through the town a bit to do some shopping and then headed back to the ship.  For many of us, the sled dog excursion was the highlight of the trip!

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