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Published on July 8, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
Take Off!

Take Off!

Rain is predicted to settle in for the next few days so I rode to the park for one last activity. Denali is known for its generous stance as a wilderness area. In a wilderness area, man is a visitor that does not remain, no mechanical vehicles can be used, and nature is left pretty much alone to do its thing. If I remember right, fires cannot be fought by firefighters with machines or chainsaws.

It's too hot!

It’s too hot!

Too many people

Too many people

The one theme that fits with the wilderness area of the park in winter is dog sleds. Denali park employees and volunteers maintain a kennel of 33 Alaskan Huskies for transportation through the park in the winter. Of course the dogs have to be cared for and exercised all summer, too. One of the most popular attractions is a sled dog demonstration offered free by the park.

I rode to the visitors center and stood in line for the 2:00 pm show. The show is so popular that there were enough people to fill two large busses. We were bussed only two miles to the kennels and got to walk around and meet the dogs for a half hour before the demonstration started. Most all the dogs are friendly from being handled by different trainers and having visitors around petting them.

If they used more dogs on this cart the musher would end up in the bushes on the turn.

If they used more dogs on this cart the musher would end up in the bushes on the turn.

The Alaskan Huskies used as sled dogs are bred for their long legs, wide paws, bushy tails, powerful lean bodies, and intelligence. They are highly trained athletes and they love to run! Any temperature above 20° is too warm for them so they sleep outside in the snow all winter.

Hard for them to stand still.

Hard for them to stand still.

The demonstration consisted of hooking 5 dogs to a wheel cart and watching them race around a circular track. Then the narrator/park ranger told the story of the dogs while the crowd watched. It was interesting to learn the different positions the dogs are harnessed in the line, and how they are chosen for their position.

When the show was over everyone could go back to pet the dogs some more or wait for the bus. There was a nice path back to the visitors center that was only 2 miles, so I walked. I probably will hang out at camp for a few days until this rain system moves on.