north of the wall
Finally, I got the chance to live out my life's dream to learn how to do dogsledding at Paws for Adventure in the wild region of Alaska, near the city of Fairbanks. Extra blessing of the beautiful weather and stunning colors of the day painted on the magical winter white canvas. Truly beautiful. The bonding with your dogs, your team - was by far the most rewarding part of the adventure. The dogs were smaller than I expected, however do not underestimate their strength and willingness to run! They seemed annoyed when I stopped them, one of the young guns would protest by yanking forward, taking no for an answer. Even with my full weight on the brake I was having a hard time from stopping him dragging us forward. The weather was the coldest I have officially been in, even though it was very mild to the locals who were used it going 40 below. The five layers of warmth kept me super cosy, however I have never had ice form on my eyes and eyelashes before, that was a very strange experience.
Later that night we were lucky to have a small window of clear sky in the week of crappy weather for our entire stay. The aurora borealis forecast was not good at best but we tried our luck anyway. Caught the last snow coach from Chena Hot Springs just minutes before departure and headed up to a nearby 2600 ft mountain top. The first wave appeared and we literally jumped out at the top camp and setup in a flash - and then blessed with a few waves of stunning auroras. Even took the staff by surprise. I have luck I tells ya.
In the morning I walked down to the frozen river that passed in front of our cosy little riverbend cabin, and with my sister and her family on skype camera I lived out another life's must do - walk on a frozen lake/river. Was very thrilling and mind bending, not just for me but for my young nieces and nephew whom has never seen snow let alone grasp the concept of walking on a body of frozen water.
A second visit to Chena Hot Springs to a welcomed thaw in their famous outdoor hot springs was well timed for these aching muscles. The mist from the cold snow surrounds transported you to a very magical place indeed. If reincarnation is real - then I formally request to come back as a Japanese Snow Monkey, one could get used to such a life quite easily. Lastly we checked out the ice museum and wandered around in awe of the craftsmanship that carve out these stunning pieces of work including the martini glass made for my cocktail. If only it was a bar I could call my local back home, would be my hangout during the hottest days of summer for sure.
The wild north was everything I expected and more, and could really call this place home at some point. Having my own dog sled to get around was the ultimate selling point. HIKE!