The first-ever Salmon Berry Tours — AKontheGO Ultimate Family Field Trip kicked off in fine style as our traveling explorers arrived from Maine to partake in Iditarod-themed winter fun.
What we’ve done:
Our first day was spent hiking a section of the Iditarod National Historic Trail near Winner Creek in Girdwood, where access was easy thanks to Alyeska Resort, and the weather, amazing. Winter hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing at Winner Creek is a 2.5-mile out and back jaunt most kids can handle, with the bonus of nearby Bake Shop goodies helpful for motivation.
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race took center stage days two through four, and Salmon Berry Tours handled all the details for our pup-centric family. We attended the Musher’s Banquet and watched each musher pull his or her bib number from the ceremonial boot; then met two successful Iditarod victors, Mitch Seavey and Jeff King, who have two very different strategies but also deep devotion to the sport of mushing.
Later, we took an artistic time-out with Paint a Scarf Alaska in Chugiak, where all of us created intricate designs on silken scarves. It was a nice way to end a busy week, painting in front of a warm fireplace in the Paint a Scarf log cabin, and the resulting products were pretty incredible.
Finally, it was time for the race. The Ceremonial Start and Restart were equally impressive for very different reasons; the Anchorage start was full of pomp and circumstance and hometown revelry; while the Restart was all business out on frozen (and very snowy) Willow Lake. Team Salmon Berry enjoyed cross-country skiing on Willow Lake, then a birds-eye view of the race teams in progress from a flight seeing trip with Talkeetna Air Taxi. We all met up at the Talkeetna Roadhouse for a special Iditarod supper, then made our way to Talkeetna Denali View Lodge, where we are cozy, warm, and waiting for the aurora borealis to make an appearance tonight (we hope).
Today brought a trip to Dallas Seavey’s Iditarod Experience Tour near Sheep Creek, and the girls were able to ride the runners and feel what it is really like to drive a team of eight dogs. We also toured the kennel itself, and, as one of our adventurers wants to be a sled dog handler some day, learned exactly what it takes to scoop poop, feed puppies, massage older dogs, and get a whole lot of sled time in between.
We’re staying up late tonight for an aurora presentation, then hopping the family aboard the train bound for Denali National Park. Stay tuned as the adventure continues!