Denali NP sled dogs and blogger meet-up

Welcome to the fifth installment of the Bucket List: Alaska series. If you are just joining us, you can go back to read the start of our Alaska adventure in Anchorage here. There will be links at the bottom of each post to take you to the next one.

Our Denali Natural History tour was complete by noon, so we headed over to the Denali National Park and Preserve Visitor’s Center, to look around and inquire about the Sled Dog Demonstrations. During the summer, these demonstrations are held several times per day, and we were in luck; we would just have time to grab a quick bite and catch the shuttle bus before the next one.

20170913_122944.jpg

A birds-eye view of this massive park, courtesy of the Visitor’s Center

But back to the sled dogs. Denali’s canine rangers are Alaskan Huskies, and they help connect the past to the present. Sled dogs and rangers continue to work together to protect the wilderness of the park as they have since the 1920s. You can visit the kennels even when there is not a presentation scheduled, and I highly recommend it. If you are really lucky, there will be puppies!

We walked around the kennels after oohing and ahhing over the puppies. These working dogs are just like people, they have unique personalities, and some are far more friendly than others. The rangers ensure those that prefer a little more privacy get just that.

20170913_134024.jpg

This one likes his alone time 🙂

 

20170913_134122.jpg

Gorgeous – this was the pups’ Mom

 

20170913_134152.jpg

This one was really friendly!

20170913_134702.jpg

This one has a regal bearing

Then it was time for the demonstration. The Rangers have a wheeled sled that is used for training during the snow-less months, and it is also used for the demos. It looked like an adrenaline rush and a lot of fun!

20170913_140825.jpg

Bringing the dogs from the kennel

20170913_140928.jpg

Lined up and getting ready to go

Video links don’t seem too popular on this blog, but I have a short one of the dog sled run that I just have to share. The team moved so fast, photos cannot do them justice. You can view the video on YouTube here: Denali Dog Sled demo

20170913_141100.jpg

The dog team after the run

20170913_141717.jpg

Two dogs and a caretaker waiting patiently while the Ranger speaks

20170913_141731.jpg

A little sleepy after all the excitement

The sled dog demo was really fun and I am glad we were able to fit it into our tight schedule. Just before departing we had to take one more puppy photo…look at this bundle of snuggles inside a doghouse.

20170913_144112.jpg

So adorable ❤

Another very exciting thing was about to happen, following our Denali visit. I had been in touch with a fellow motorcycle blogger in the spring regarding a possible meeting at the National BMW Motorcycle Owners rally in July, but that did not materialize due to our change in RV travel plans. Well, lo and behold, Richard Machida, of Richard’s Page, is a long-time resident of Fairbanks, Alaska. He had been following our Alaska journey on FaceBook, and offered to drive two and a half hours down to Denali to meet us! He wrote about our visit on his blog in a very timely manner, unlike me, and you can read his account of our fun meeting here: Day Trip to Denali

Richard met Jerry and me at the main lodge, and we chatted over coffee for a bit, before deciding to take a ride up the road to Healy for dinner at the 49th State Brewing Company. That may sound familiar since we enjoyed a citified version in Anchorage, but the one in Healy was rustic and just what I would picture in my mind of a small town Alaskan watering hole!

20170913_165901.jpg

49th State Brewing in Healy. Out of frame is a replica of Chris McCandless’ bus from Into the Wild

It is amazing to meet people in person that you have gotten to ‘know’ in the virtual world. In Richard’s case, we have several things in common; BMW motorcycles (although Richard’s main ride these days is the Ural with sidecar), RVing, and a general love for travel and blogging. The conversation flowed effortlessly, and a good time was had by all. We were so thankful that Richard was willing and able to make the trek down to see us, and hope that we are able to cross paths again one day!

21741226_10203589060643907_2862558037408547167_o

Enjoying dinner and a brew in Healy!

20170913_182630.jpg

A cloudy evening on the way back to Denali. Here’s where I tell you we saw a Mama moose and 2 calves in a pond and didn’t get any pics 😦

20170913_183658.jpg

In the truck selfie!

Thanks again for coming to meet us, Richard! What are the chances of knowing someone within two or so hours of Denali??? I am so glad we did!

Just a few more pictures from our walk back to our room at the lodge.

20170913_184357.jpg

Black-billed Magpies outside the Denali lodge

20170913_195553.jpg

The Nenana River just before sunset

20170913_200436.jpg

Bronze elk in front of our building

20170913_200528.jpg

Sunset view from the back deck of the building

Thank you for joining me for the last part of our Denali experience. Next time, we will be venturing deeper into the interior of Alaska via the gravel Denali Highway, on our way to the Copper River area. Please come along!

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Denali NP sled dogs and blogger meet-up

  1. It wasn’t a long trek at all. Plus, I stopped in Nenana to visit another friend with a Ural who just returned from commercial fishing in Ketchikan. It was great to meet you both. Sooo, when is the RV trip to AK?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always enjoy reading of blogger meet-ups so it was good to read it first on Richard’s blog and now on yours.

    And the huskies are gorgeous, but then I don’t think I’ve met one that wasn’t. Didn’t you just want to snuggle the puppies?

    Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s