The Therapy Journals of the Fat-Headed Klingon Woman

One woman's journey to becoming Her True Self

This Day Went to the Dogs! August 2, 2015

Filed under: Alaska Summer — DDKlingonGirl @ 4:26 pm
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Hello, all!  Greetings again from Alaska!  First off, let me give you this awesome piece of news:  the videos are uploaded!  I edited the last two posts to include the takeoff for the flight tour and the glacier landing and takeoff vids.  There now, aren’t you tickled? 🙂  Now then, I am hoping you are waiting to hear what super-fun adventure I’m going to share with you today.  So wait no longer- today’s post is going to be covering the Sun Dog Kennel Tour!

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First of all, if you aren’t familiar with the Iditarod sled dog race, it’s an amazing event.  I can’t even imagine the stamina and perseverance necessary to compete in this race, both for the humans and the dogs.  But make no mistake- in this race, the athletes are definitely the dogs.  They are highly skilled, precisely trained professional athletes who also happen to have a natural gift for and love of their sport.  Wow.  It’s the Doggie Olympics, basically.

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So on this particular day off, I boarded the Talkeetna shuttle, as so many days off begin.  The ride to TKA takes an hour or so, and is usually uneventful.  The first few trips on that shuttle when we got here way back in May, we saw a moose or two alongside the road, but I haven’t been lucky enough to see another one since then.  When I got to town, I went to the Kahiltna Bistro, which is where both the kennel tour and the fishing tours offered by this lodge originate. The same family owns the restaurant and operates both tours.  I checked in, had some time to kill before the tour, went walking, blew money on a pair of earrings for myself from one of the gift shops, and returned to wait for the tour.

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Finally it was time to start and they loaded us into a big black van.  (Yeah, I know that sounds like the beginning of a really bad-ending story, but it’s not.)  We took a short drive of less than five minutes to the kennel site.  Their yard and buildings were beautiful.  There were flowers hanging in pots and planted in garden beds and the first thing I thought was that I wished my mom could see them.  Unfortunately, genius me, I wasn’t quick enough to take any pictures for her.  During the short ride I was able to discover that my co-tourists were from… Denton, TX, less than an hour from where I live.  It is always fun up here when I run into someone so “close” to home, so to speak.

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The led us into a little building where they gave their presentations.  There were little seats all around the walls and the floor was painted with a map of the race with all its checkpoints.  They had sleds and equipment hanging overhead and on display in the floor.

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After a short orientation in which the tour guide told us a little bit about how the race worked, how they took care of the dogs, etc., they divided us into groups and led us out to the area where the dogs were kept.  Dozens of them, all with their own little houses.  As they walked down among the dogs, choosing the ones who were going to get to perform that day’s pulling demonstration, the dogs just went crazy.  It was obvious that they loved to work and once the ones who weren’t chosen realized it wasn’t their day, they settled down and looked completely dissatisfied.

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The demonstration consists of hitching up a full team of dogs to a modified vehicle like a small jeep.  Don’t worry- they didn’t have to pull its full weight.  They were helped along by the motor running, but they were still definitely doing a lot of pulling. The teams we had been divided into before were the groups we would ride with in the vehicle, because it only held about six people.  The teams were named for checkpoints in the race.  I didn’t take notes, (because basically I’m a goober) so I can’t tell you our team names.

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Each team took a short ride behind the dogs, the rest of the people riding in the van, keeping up with the dogs until the next stop.  At one point they stopped and let them go down into a creek and cool off.  They were so cute rolling in the water and drinking.  It was a fairly warm day, so I know they had to be hot.  Their tongues hang out to the side when they run.  It’s kind of funny.

 

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When we had all ridden behind the dogs, we returned to the kennel and they were unhitched and we were allowed to pet and praise them.  They all looked tired but happy.  Finally, the most anxiously awaited part of the tour arrived: the part where we got to hold and play with the puppies, to help “socialize” them.  They have to get used to being handled a lot during their training and by vets and judges during the races.  There were two different moms with puppies; one litter was 40 days old and one was only 3 days old.  So.  Stinkin.  Cute!!

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As soon as everyone had had a chance to hold the puppies, the tour was over.  We loaded back into the van and returned to the restaurant where we were dropped off.  I knew I wouldn’t have time to get back to the lodge in time for supper, so I went in search of a good place to eat.  My friend Natti B enjoys eating at a little place called WestRib.  She says they have the best burgers there, so I decided to give it a try.  A short (5-7 minute) walk through town, and I was there.  I chose a mushroom swiss burger with sweet potato fries.  (Looking at the pic now, they may have been regular fries.  I don’t remember.  I just remember I was hungry and they were good.  I ate every crumb.)

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It was super tasty, but unfortunately they took just a little too long, and I ended up missing the 7:30 shuttle and had to kill time waiting for the 9:00.  I ended up getting my second scoop of fireweed ice cream.  Still not really describable.  I feel almost certain it must taste like some other kind of berry that I’m just not familiar with, but I have no idea.  All I know is that I truly can’t describe the taste.

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Finally the shuttle came and I caught a ride back to the lodge.  I believe it was on this shuttle ride that I began amusing myself by composing my bus driver safety speech to the tune of Les Mis music.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I will post it here in its own post as soon as I do.  I know, there is no superlative adjective for nerdy.  Nerdiest?

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Anyway.  Thanks for reading me, and for coming along on my Alaskan journey.  Look for my next post soon, which will be about my ride on the Hurricane Turn train!

Until next time,

D.

Bonus Video: Huskies Howling

 

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