Musher's Camp, Skagway, Alaska

The Sun Princess pulled into Skagway on a Thursday morning, meeting docks full of cruise ships. After a fruitless quest to find the promised wi-fi hotspot, I packed away the laptop and joined eight plus members of the family on an excursion to a local sled dog training (or was a sled driver training?) camp in the local foothills. This promised to be a pleasant and reasonably priced alternative to catching a ride in a dog-powered sled up on a glacier.

As we headed out of town, our van driver regaled us with tales of the little mining town's history and more modern goings on. A short distance after our road transition from pavement to gravel, we got out and crossed a small bridge. There we met a second van and spent a few minutes climbing a very lumpy road into the camp. Visitors were skillfully rotated between the sled ride, lecture area, dog kennels, and gift shop so that the place never seemed crowded.

Ushered into wheeled sleds, our dog teams lugged us up a long hill at what felt like a fairly fast pace; photos of this section were blurry. At the top, our dogs retired for the morning, and while our new team was hooked up, our new driver answered our questions. The dogs seemed incredibly undisciplined, but once instructed to run, they quickly found their rhythem. When we stopped, they were extremely friendly and well behaved. We met the leaders of the pack and learned how Alaskan Huskies are bred. Finally we made our way back down to the camp.

One of the mushers told us of life on the Iditarod, we surveyed the kennels, held some puppies, and then retired to the gift shop before heading back to town. Recommended for kids and dog lovers.

To unlock family photos, enter the first name of the "Birthday Boy" on this cruise:

A ''Pure Mutt'' Alaskan HuskyA ''Pure Mutt'' Alaskan Husky Our team pulling up uphillOur team pulling up uphill Dogs goofing around on their breakDogs goofing around on their break Dogs hamming it up on breakDogs hamming it up on break Alaskan Husky posing for her close upAlaskan Husky posing for her close up Experienced team leadersExperienced team leaders Musher telling tales of the raceMusher telling tales of the race Our driver/guide talking about the dogsOur driver/guide talking about the dogs Looking for attention?Looking for attention? Dog housesDog houses More dog housesMore dog houses Looking rumpled at a vista point on the road backLooking rumpled at a vista point on the road back

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Copyright © 2008 Jefferson Scher.