Saturday, March 10, 2018

#61 - Dog Sledding & #93 - Northern Lights

Sometimes if you wait till the perfect time you never get around to doing things. I realized this in December and, although I'm in school, and working 30 hours a week, and volunteering, and really don't have time for adventures, decided, on a bit of a whim in December, to book a flight to Whitehorse using Air Miles and asked my friend Kate if I could stay with her for a few days in March. I decided this winter I would finally cross off dog sledding from my bucket list. Kate has experience as a dog sled guide, so she knew which local outfit to recommend. And she wasn't wrong. Sky High Ranch was great. I did a day trip (about five hours including a lunch break), and they supplied me with a parka, snow pants, boots, and mitts, fed us a great lunch, and I got to drive my own team. What a day. 
The weather was perfect, the snow was powdery, and the dogs were super affectionate. I didn't have to say "gee" or "haw" since that was the leader's job, but I did have to say either "let's go" or "whoa" and use the foot brake, especially going downhill. Holy smokes, those dogs are strong. I tipped my sled and fell off, but the team still managed to pull me, holding on for dear life, for about 10 feet before slowing down.
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, but the best way I can sum it up is to say that dog sledding is kind of like cross-country skiing, but with dogs and adrenaline.  You definitely need to be in half-way decent shape. My arms and quads will be sore tomorrow from all the work, and I was out of breath on the steep up-hills from having to help the dogs out by pushing with one foot (think skateboarding  to get momentum going). But if you want a True North experience, definitely give dog sledding a go. It was an experience unlike I've had before and will likely have again. 

Oh, and...! Last night Kate and I were walking home from the movies around 9:30 and noticed this great big, iridescent green streak in the sky. The Northern Lights! I saw it in all its glory! We drove up Grey Mountain and turned off the headlights and just stared for ages at the great shimmering green waving its way across the stars. It looked almost like smoke, but glowing. So incredible to see with my own eyes, even though I've seen very impressive photos of it, of course. I would've taken a photo, but only had my iPhone, which wouldn't nearly do it justice, if it managed to capture any light at all. So you'll just have to take my word for it that in Whitehorse on March 9, 2018, the Aurora Borealis was really pretty good. (Kate's lived here off and on for a few years and she gave it a 9 out of 10, so I'm pretty happy.)

Two things crossed off my bucket list in one weekend. Woot!

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