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.


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.


This one likes his alone time 🙂



Gorgeous – this was the pups’ Mom



This one was really friendly!


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!


Bringing the dogs from the kennel


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


The dog team after the run


Two dogs and a caretaker waiting patiently while the Ranger speaks


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.


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!


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!


Enjoying dinner and a brew in Healy!


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 😦


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.


Black-billed Magpies outside the Denali lodge


The Nenana River just before sunset


Bronze elk in front of our building


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. You can click here to go directly there!

9 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

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