As you can tell (since its been 2 weeks since our last post) we have been quite busy!
When we first arrived to our stopping point of Healy, Ak, where we would be spending our time until September-October. We wondered what we were going to do on our days off with it being such a “small town”. Healy, Alaska has a population of around 1,000 people (in the winter). Now in the summer time that number pretty much triples, with all the people flying and driving in to work. Tourists come in from the train and cruise boats to adventure in and around Denali National Park. Healy is a nice little town, everyone here is very welcoming and helpful no matter the circumstance. Anyway we have had no shortage of finding things to do. Between going hiking, four wheeling, meeting Jeff King ( Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Champion), rafting down the Nenana River, Zip Lining through the Talkeetna forest and over a lake, a Discovery Boat Tour in Fairbanks and a couple dinner & theater shows “Music in Denali” and “Alaskan Cabin Nite Theater”.
Jeff King’s Husky Homestead – Dog mushing in general is a huge sport in Alaska. Competitors prepare all year long for this 1,100 mile sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. We wanted to know more about the sport itself and what kind of training and preparation went into the event itself so we came across Jeff’s Husky Homestead. We hopped on the shuttle bus that took us down south past the Denali National Park entrance, when we arrived we were greeted by over 60 dogs, including a new litter of puppies that were about 10 weeks old. As the puppies got passed around to be held (this is actually part of the puppies training, to be held by numerous people and socialize them well) we awaited our turn and then passed them on to the next people. When everyone had there chance to cuddle and play with the new litter we were seated and Jeff started letting us in on his ways of training the dogs for the big race! Fun fact, the dogs eat about 2,000 calories of food per day during the summer months vs. 5,000 calories per day in winter months when not racing and 10,000 calories during the race each day! They sure are lean, mean, calorie burning machines! (they’re not really mean, they actually all have sweet personalities and love to play and be petted) Let me tell you though, once they know that they are fixing to be hooked up to the sled to race (or a four wheeler in the summer months), they are in race mode! They know exactly what is fixing to happen and they get very excited to do what they do best. Jeff was very insightful about how he prepares for the race, another fun fact, the entry fee for the Iditarod Race is $3,000 and each team can have up to 16 dogs per sled but no less than 6 dogs per sled by the end of the race. (Its very common for dogs to be sent home during the race if they are not performing up to par or if one gets injured.) Jeff had a special all in one sleeping bag/snowsuit made to accommodate him to save time and space on the trail which was made of goose down from Cabela’s as it can get down to -50 degrees on the trail during the race. Overall our trip to Jeff’s Husky Homestead was a great experience and very informative. Special thanks to Jeff King and his crew!