Mushing Through Denali

To say this was one of the best trips I have been on would be an understatement. Other than Peru with Chris, this may have been the best adventure yet! My cousins wanted to go dog mushing while in Alaska. I had no idea what was in store and I am always up for fun activities so I said let’s do it! While driving to our destination, we had to look out for Moose and make sure none were in the road. They are huge animals and can total a car. We arrived at the Earthsong Lodge early in the morning after driving quite a ways. The owner of the Dog Sled Expeditions was amazing and so was his staff. My cousin got paired with the owner, her husband with one of their friends, and I was paired with one of the staff members who now is a guide for Earthsong Lodge. Each person was wonderful and made the experience memorable. We got fitted in our warm clothes we were to wear for the duration of the trip. A giant onesie with a super warm hood, boots, and gloves. After the fitting I needed the restroom and got pointed to the outhouse. I was warned about my bottom possibly sticking to the seat so I was super careful. It did not happen, thank goodness. Using the butt flap on the clothes was quite fun though.

After airing out in the chilly morning, I stepped out of the outhouse and met up with my cousins by the dog houses. They were so small I had no idea how a dog could fit in them but they sure did. The dogs must have been super warm too with how tight their quarters were. These dogs had energy like I have never seen and I have an Australian Cattle Dog (They are nuts with boundless energy!) These dogs, the mushing dogs, wanted to go, go, go, immediately out of the gate. They were chained to their spots and were not let off until they were individually walked to the line they would be attached to. Each dog was jumping and barking with such excitement and joy. All they wanted to do was work and get the job done. It was a sight to see and very interesting to hear. This trip heightened all my senses. The sights, smells, sounds, touch, and then a nice taste of hot chocolate that the owner provided as a surprise on our trail break! All senses activated and rejuvenated. 

We were split up into three sleds. Each one of us had a musher and a different amount of dogs. The leader had the most with my cousin’s husband, she and the owner were next, then I was last with the most relaxed person to mush with. He was, and is, so knowledgeable and kind. I highly recommend booking him as your guide if you are ever in his neck of the woods whilst in Alaska. So much happened on this trip that this blog needs to be separated into two different entries. We were standing around and waiting for the gentlemen, mushers, to get their gear and be ready. This did not take long because they are professional and super on top of everything. After they got us situated in our sled, they took off to get the dogs energy out a bit. While on the trail they explained the commands and told us we would be mushing on that day. We thought we were just riding in the sled, oh no, no…we were going to mush!! Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the rest of the story on Monday!! 

Sled Dog

Have a wonderful start to December everybody. I have been working on ornaments and Christmas orders. The ornaments are below and you can click on the painting to view them individually. Also, if you would like to show support, I recently joined “buy me a coffee” which is a way for anyone to contribute to the creative process behind the paintings. Fuel the artist so to speak. Here is the link if you are interested and I truly appreciate the support and the fact that you are liking these blogs, as well as my art posts. I am working hard to bring you all fresh content! One more bit of news…My Newsletter also went out today and the sign up is on my homepage if you are interested. I have a coupon running for everyone who has signed up. Have a wonderful weekend!

-Karen Hilliard

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