Photo by Ann Shields
Visit an Alaska Sled Dog Training CampDo you want to hold a sleepy Alaskan husky puppy? Or maybe three or four? Of course you do. In the woods near the entrance of Denali National Park, you can visit the kennels and training camp (and nursery) of four-time Iditarod champ Jeff King. King and his crew have crafted their visitors’ program until it races like a well-fed and highly entertaining husky: first, visitors nuzzle and coo over the puppies. Then they move to an outdoor seating area to watch some fascinating demonstrations by the big dogs. A wildly eager team is harnessed and hitched to an ATV and then they run, run, run through the woods. When they come back into sight, the team runs up onto a long treadmill that King recently built which allows the audience to better see how the dogs work together. And how much fun they’re having. Inside, away from the barking, King gives a performance—funny and rapid-fire—about what it’s like to run the Iditarod and to raise a family in the bush. If you love dogs, you should not miss this. If you don’t love dogs, what is your problem? What I mean to say is: You will still probably enjoy the stories of endurance and sportsmanship. And maybe holding an impossibly lovable two-week-old puppy will convert you.
Ann Shields traveled to Alaska and the Yukon with Holland America Line as part of AFAR’s partnership with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more on Ann’s journey, visit the USTOA blog.