Although Alaska was not on my bucket list of places to visit, I am thankful our friends encouraged us to make a trip to visit them in Anchorage. The native culture, the array of food choices, and the gorgeous landscape is worth the exploration. Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, located on the Cook Inlet. Anchorage is such a beautiful city to visit in the summer. Lucky for us the friends that invited us to Anchorage had just recently relocated and were able to provide housing and guide us throughout our visit.
We, like many others who embarked on their first trip to Alaska, thought the weather would be cold in Alaska, even during the summer…Not so! We packed many “cold weather” garments: coats, ear muffs, gloves, beanies, etc. None of which were ever worn or needed.
Luckily, we packed a couple of shorts and polos which were perfect for the summer weather in Anchorage. So we recommend the following:
- Bring shorts! The weather can warm up to the high 80s or 90 degrees. It isn’t always cold!
- Don’t forget to sleep. In the summer, Alaska experiences long daylight hours…like 22 hours. It is easy to forget to go home or sleep. We have found ourselves out and about until almost midnight. You simply lose track of time.
- Bring sunscreen! Sunlight hours are long, and you can easily get sunburnt.
One of the most memorable activities we experienced while in Anchorage was booking a dog sled ride with Salmon Berry Tours which requires a helicopter ride from the Chugach Mountain Range atop a glacier where mushers and beautiful dogs greet you.
I selected Salmon Berry Tours because of the raving reviews I read from other tourists who had selected them for this type of adventure. Many of the other dog sledding tours were done where there was not any snow and you basically were pulled in a cart around on dirt path. I wanted the real experience of a sled pulled by dogs in the SNOW!
The owner of Salmon Berry Tours, Candice McDonald, wanted visitors to have a intimate experience and fall in love with the dogs as her passion was sharing knowledge of why dog sledding is such an essential part of American history. What’s amazing about this tour is you are not on a bus with a million other tourists; the groups are very limited in size. Our visit to the glacier only included one other family which made the experience more enjoyable and we had more opportunities to spend with the dogs and the mushers.
When Candice McDonald left her job at a large tour company to start Salmon Berry Tours, her mission was to keep her groups small and personal. So she hired only Alaskans and used vans instead of buses.
These dogs are members of Mitch Seavey’s Kennel, one of the champion Iditarod teams. The dog trainers, or mushers, explain how each dog’s attitude creates the success for the entire team. You can indeed see their personalities through their behaviors as they pull the sled through the snow. My partner and I had so much fun letting them love on us as we gave them sweet hugs after a fun ride on the sled.
You will be able to visit with the mushers and ride around on the sled for 1.5 hours before heading back to Girdwood. The experience of being on the mountain will take your breath away. You will soon come to admire these mushers and their dogs as many of them live atop of these glaciers during the summer to train and prepare for the Iditarod race.
I recommend you put Anchorage on your list of places to visit and definitely book a dog sled tour with Salmon Berry Tours for a visit to see their remarkable Alaskan dogs.