Alaska - A True Winter Wonderland & Snow Adventure!
Snow flakes danced on my cheeks. Cold crisp wind gently bounced over my parka. I was gliding through a snowy, white winter wonderland. Excited and smiling like a kid on Christmas morning, I could barely contain my happiness. I was in Alaska and dog sledding!
If you have the opportunity, I recommend spending 10-14 days in Alaska over winter. It is a bucket list must! My friend and I did so many fun things in each town; Anchorage, Wasilia, Willow, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs and even the North Pole.
Starting out in Anchorage, we attended the Iditarod Mushers Banquet and met so many wonderful people from all over the world. Two days later, we watched the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. A parade of colorful people and dogs, it was unlike anything either of us had ever witnessed. We also attended the Fur Rondy Festival, rode carnival rides, and watched the Running of the Reindeer. Think of Running of the Bulls!
The next day we were off to Willow for the official start of the Iditarod. It is the ‘Super Bowl of Ice and Snow’ and quite the festive environment. Thousands of fans tailgate, or 'trailgate' as they call it, eating reindeer dogs, picnicking and watching the mushers start their 1,049 mile journey. It didn’t matter if it was 20 F, everyone was outside enjoying a beautiful winter day.
After being a spectator for a couple days, we were ready to have some of our own adventures. We joined up with Planet Earth Adventures (http://www.discoverak.com/) in Talkeetna, AK. My friend Albert Marquez owns the company and was in the middle of one of his famous tours across Alaska. We spent the next few days in Talkeetna, a quaint backpackers’ town. We stayed at the Susitna Lodge and had our own cozy cabin by a frozen lake. I never slept better! During the day we went dog sledding and snowmobiling (snowmachining). Neither I had done before, but caught on quick. At night, after dinner, we had a bonfire on the lake, toasted marshmallows, ate S’mores and traded funny travel stories.
Later we traveled north to Fairbanks, took in the World Ice Sculpting Championship, went to the museum at the University of Alaska, went to the town of North Pole, where it is Christmas year round and then posed by the great Alaskan Pipeline on our way to Chena Hot Springs.
Chena Hot Springs are wonderful! We soaked up the hot, mineral rich waters in -15F weather and we were warm! At night, it was martinis at the Ice Palace and later we were treated to the Aurora Borealis. So BEAUTIFUL! Like a green rainbow in the sky.
This was truly one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had traveling. I’m so glad we met up with Albert after Willow. His small group adventure travel tour was incredible! If you are going to see Alaska, I recommend going with Planet Earth Adventures.
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