Dog Sledding Adventures in Canada and Alaska

Dog sledding adventure

The longest dog sled race in the world is the “Iditarod”, which takes place in Alaska, with an official start in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska and another start one day later in Wasilla, 30 km away, to Nome on the Bering Sea, more than 1,800 km away.

When a diphtheria epidemic broke out in 1925, the urgently needed vaccine was first brought by train to Nenana near Fairbanks, 680 km away, and then transported in just five and a half days with 20 dog sledding teams over dangerous stretches of road to Nome. Since then, the Iditarod race has started on the first Saturday in March and the first mushers, as the dog sled drivers are called, are expected in Nome after 10-12 days. However, the current course of the route is largely different from the historical course of 1925.

According to SECURITYPOLOGY, the most famous dog sled race is the “Yukon Quest”. According to the story, the idea for this race came about in 1976 during a conversation in a bar between a historian and a musher that was supposed to take place in memory of prospectors, adventurers, postmen and trappers. Almost 10 years later the project was taken up again in 1983. This time through other men, the idea matured again and the Yukon Quest dog sled race started in 1984 for the first time, starting in Whitehorse in Canada and ending in Fairbanks in Alaska. The race has taken place every year since then, with a different start. In even years the Yukon Quest leads from Fairbanks to Whitehorse and in odd years the mushers start in Whitehorse to get to Fairbanks.

Dog sled multiplication table

A musher is a sled dog team leader who usually not only stands at the back of the sled, but also runs along if necessary and trains and guides his dogs. In larger teams there are usually several lead dogs, so-called lead dogs, to jump in in an emergency. It is interesting that only one lead dog listens to the commands. In the case of guest mushers, the dogs usually only listen to simple instructions such as “Go” or “Stop”. In contrast, the dogs and especially the lead dog also react to all special commands (such as cornering and U-turns) mostly only to the instructions of their master or mistress, the “human lead wolf, since a long-lasting relationship naturally exists between lead dogs and mushers.

A kind of 6th sense often develops through months or years of cooperation. If the “chemistry” between the musher and the lead dog is not right, it cannot work even after years of cooperation, while it works perfectly with the same animal with another musher. However, not every animal is born a lead dog. Lead dogs are strong-willed, smart and fast. Immediately behind the lead dog in the 2nd row, the point dogs run, then the swing dogs, team dogs and wheeldogs run in the team.

Out and about through the wilderness like a trapper
A paradise for mushers and a popular travel destination is the Yukon in northwest Canada and neighboring Alaska. With the dog sled through Canada or Alaska you will be transported back to the time of gold diggers and adventurers.

During a tour, tourists often come across frozen streams, quiet forests and glittering lakes, as well as majestic mountain ranges. After a briefing, you can lead your own experienced dog team on old paths, trapper paths or developed trails. In the evening, on a guided tour lasting several days, one often expects a cozy arctic tent with a wooden floor and a wood-burning stove. In the quiet winter night you can discover the dreamy Canadian winter world under the majestic northern lights.

Dog Sledding Adventures in Canada and Alaska