Glacier Dog Sledding: Alaska Icefield Expeditions

Dogsledding on the Denver Glacier, Skagway, Alaska

A Six-Picture Story

Combine flightseeing, a glacier, and a mushing camp, and what do you get? An unbelievable Alaskan adventure!

We began our journey in the historic Klondike Goldrush town of Skagway, located in Alaska’s Inside Passage. Our destination? Eastward, to the Denver Glacier and the summer home of a phenomenal group of young men and women from Alaska Icefield Expeditions. Whisked away on an 8-mile, 15-minute helicopter ride, we saw jaw-dropping mountain scenery, from snow-capped peaks to deep crevices to glacial ice flows.

From inside the cockpit of a helicopter, stunnings views of snow-capped mountains, near and far.

Flightseeing to the Denver Glacier, nothing but majestic snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see.

As we neared the camp, it seemed to pop up out of nowhere. The color scheme is white – from the mushers’ huts to the dogs’ platforms – to blend in with the surroundings.

A view from the helicopter window of the musher's camp atop the Denver Glacier.

The summer home of about 16 mushers and handlers and over 200 sled dogs.

After our helicopter dropped us at the camp, it left to return to Skagway to pick up the next group of adventure seekers.

Red helicopter against a backdrop of snow, sheer rock, and blue skies.

A Temsco helicopter lifts off from the glacier after leaving us to enjoy our dog sled experience.

And then we met our musher: Matthew Hall. Tanned from the summer sun, sporting sunglasses and a short-sleeved t-shirt, his goal is to participate in the Iditarod, the 1049-mile race from Anchorage to Nome. He introduced us to our ten-dog team, while the handler harnessed the dogs to the sled. We had the option to sit in the sled or stand on the runners. My husband and I took turns at each position, marveling at the strength and agility of the dogs as Matthew kept them on the 2-mile track around the perimeter of the glacier. We took a few stops along the way, to rest the dogs and for photo opportunities.

Fun fact: “Mush” is rarely used as a command. Gee (with a hard “g”) for right turn; haw, for left; hike or all right, for go; and of course, woah. I leave it up to you to figure out what that one means.

Ten huskies harnessed together against a backdrop of the vast Denver Glacier and distant snow-capped mountains.

A team of ten sled dogs, taking a much-deserved break mid-way through the run.

After our run, we met some very special inhabitants of the camp: puppies! Some were a few months old; this one was so young she hadn’t yet opened her eyes.

A week-old black-faced husky puppy, eyes still closed.

A Sled Dog To-Be

An hour after landing on the glacier, our helicopter returned and we had to say goodbye. It was difficult to leave this magical place, but I was left with a sense of pride: in the mushers, in their wonderful dogs, and for our 49th state.

Waving in the breeze, an American flag atop a pole is the backdrop to a musher's tent and yellow snowmobile.

Even in this remote glacial camp, an American flag is proudly displayed.

14 thoughts on “Glacier Dog Sledding: Alaska Icefield Expeditions

  1. What a great experience Stacy. I wish I had of explored more when I lived in Canada but funds didn’t allow it. That would have been memorable. Love all the pictures and especially the cute puppy what a nice shot. πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks, Shelley! They are gorgeous dogs. It was amazing to watch them work as they pulled us around the glacier. Luckily, half-way round the trek, the mushers gave the dogs a break, as much for the dogs, I think, as for the photographic opportunity. We had a chance to really interact with them as well. All in all, dogsledding is a spectacular experience!

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