You’re planning a trip to Alaska in the winter, and you cannot decide what activities to do while you are there. Alaska is definitely an adventurer’s domain when it comes to activities in the winter. While you can still find shopping, spas, and indoor activities, many travel to Alaska for its nature wonders. With wildlife, dog sledding, glaciers walks, and more your adventure side will be overwhelmed, and you’ll probably be dog tired by the end of the day.
Salmon Berry Tours is the tour company I used for dog sledding and the Matanuska Glacier walk. While I love to explore new places by myself, having Salmon Berry Tours pick you up at your hotel, provide a warm van ride to your destination, snacks, lunch stop, photo stops, and facts about Alaska along the way was better than anything. Not having to worry about directions or snowy conditions was great for me, and made the tour well worth it. I would highly recommend using them when you venture to Alaska.
Ever since I watched the movie Snow Dogs I have been interested in the dog sledding sport. However, I did have my reservations about the living conditions of the dogs as they live outside in the harsh winter conditions, but learning about the history has changed my perspective completely.
History of Dog Sledding
Dog sledding was a mode of transportation in Alaska long before it was a sport. Many communities were so remote that the only way to reach them was by dog sled. In 1925 the small town of Nome was dying from an epidemic, and needed the diphtheria antitoxin serum to save them. Mushers and their dogs rushed to transport the serum to the town of Nome in order to save the community. Both the mushers and their dogs became heroes as they saved the community of Nome.
As snowmobiles came into play, the use of dog sleds was slowly fading away along with the Alaskan husky bred, and so Joe Redington, Sr. was one of the driving forces that helped create the Iditarod. He wanted to preserve the history and culture of the historic Iditarod Trail in Alaska, and his large impact on the race got him the name of “Father of Iditarod”. The Iditarod is a multi-day race from Anchorage to Nome through the harsh conditions of the winter. Alaskan Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are two types of dogs that run this race due to their ability to thrive in below freezing weather. Hence this is why the dogs live outside. Their fur is so thick that they enjoy being outside running around.
Bond of Dogs
When I went to Dallas Seavey Racing to go dog sledding, their was a three-legged dog amoung the hundred other dogs. One of the mushers shared with us that he was the best of the best lead dog for Dallas’ team before a moose attacked him and stomped on his leg. The dog had to have the leg removed and when Dallas tried to make him an indoor dog since he could no longer race, he could not be contained inside. Every time the door opened he would fly outside to go hang out with his friends. Dogs who are raised as a team just can’t become an indoor dog. These dogs are meant for the outdoors and thrive together in a pack.
Dog sledding is this amazing experience where you see dogs who share a bond with each other, and more importantly keep each other in line. Learning about the history of the dog sledding sport, and then partaking in the sport was truly amazing and helps you understand just a piece of the culture of Alaska. Take a chance and try it out, you won’t regret it!
Matanuska Glacier Walk
This was the other tour I took with Salmon Berry tours and would highly recommend it. The Matanuska Glacier is one of the only easily accessible glaciers. Most other glaciers tend to require a snow machine, boat, hiking, or more to reach them. The Matanuska Glacier has a parking lot right next to it so you just park and walk on.
Truly words cannot describe my experience walking on the Matanuska Glacier. Out of everything I have done in my life this tops it all, because none of it is man-made. Every piece of the glacier was created by nature and that is what makes it so magical (except those two benches).
As you walk along, with your crampons (pictures below) on your boots to ease you across the incredibly thick ice and snow to see the incredible wonder up close. Some of the ice was a blue color, and the guide explained that when the snow is compressed so tightly on top of each other the blue hue comes out. I’ll take his word on it because I am just an English major.
What is even more amazing about the glacier is the fact that they are ever changing. We stood really still and could hear the ice moving ever so slowly. In the summer it moves a lot faster, but it is quite cool that it still moves slowly in the winter. Everywhere you turn on the glacier it is absolutely beautiful. Breath taking. Definitely if you journey to Alaska, please take the time to walk on the glacier, seeing nature in its prime untouched by skyscrapers or more.
Twilight Photography Tour
My Twilight Tour was through Alaska Photo Treks and Jody was my amazing guide. Her knowledge of Alaska and photography was just what I needed with my limited knowledge of landscape photography.
She finds out what you know and then works with you on that level, which was perfect because I was afraid I’d be behind. I have only had my Sony a6000 for a few months, so I haven’t mastered it at all.
It was great to have a guide to show me the ropes on the camera, and where to go to get that great shot of Alaska as well. With snow and ice being a big factor up in Alaska sometimes it is nice to be with someone who has so much knowledge of the area, and more importantly is use to driving through winter conditions.
Jody was also super sweet and made hot coco for us and gave us snacks as well!
Visit You Won’t Regret It
If I haven’t convinced you yet to go to Alaska in the winter, then I don’t know what else I can do, because you are missing out on an amazing wonder of the world. Many talk about the amazing sites in Europe or Asia, but I feel so many amazing sites are missed here in America. Alaska is beautiful because Alaskans are proud of their state. Every tour I went on they talked about how those before us wanted us to enjoy the nature how it is, and those after us will want the same. This means no writing our names on the glacier or wiping snow off of it. While nature may change itself, it is not our job to tell nature how to do it.