Thursday, March 22, 2007
Today was probably the highlight of our Alaskan adventure: We rode on dog sleds and then hopped into a Cessna to fly around Mount McKinley. It was quite cold out -- high in the mid-20s and, in fact, we clocked -5 F while we were up there in the air. We wore those long johns I still can't remember why we Las Vegans own in the first place.
The top picture is me and Miles in flight, which is remarkable because Miles hates to fly and really, really had to psyche himself up for the ride. But the folks at Talkeetna Air Taxi were so comforting and encouraging, and he rolled with it. We were so glad we did, however, to be able to snap such sensational views as this one to your right. That wing you see is our plane. Also joining us was Karen Harris, the proprietor of the Garden Gate B&B where we're staying and an old friend of mine.
It was quite a beautiful -- and chilly -- flight, and we heard from our pilot, Danielle, that global warming is very much in evidence up here in shrinking glaciers and such. Hard to imagine as you look out at all that snow and ice -- rivers so frozen over they appear to be made of marshmallow Fluff. But surely they know of which they speak.
Earlier in the day, we went to Dream a Dream Dog Farm in Willow, where Iditarod veteran Vern Halter explained the ins and outs of professional and competitive dog sledding. Then Vern and one of his handlers took each of us on an 8-mile dog-mushing jaunt through the frozen wilderness. To your left is Miles on his dog sled. Each sled had 10 big dogs. One of my dogs was pregnant. Vern was so great that I'm bringing him on The Petcast in a few weeks to discuss the whole business of raising and training these dogs. There was no question in my mind that these dogs, while being asked to work hard, clearly enjoy their work and are not tortured or prodded into pulling the haul.
Will write more later. We're tired. Tomorrow we go snowmachining. Not snowmobiling... that's apparently the passe term.