If you’re just tuning in to our Alaska adventures, here are the links to Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, and Part VIII. Where did we leave off last? Where DIDN’T we leave off last? We saw magical whales, magical moose, blissed-out bears, British bison (not really), and more, and then took the time to go into the sky in a helicopter and land on an island of magical ponies. Wait. Wrong story. We landed on a glacier of magical dogs. Are you ready to see PUPPIES?? You will.
Aren’t dreams and marriages, and marriages and dreams, and dreamy marriages, and marital dreams funny that way? It’s like you take on each other’s likes and dislikes. Do you know that I’m pretty sure Cassidy used to eat onions before he met me and my onion phobia? Although once he walked into the kitchen and I was eating sour cream and onion chips and he said, “Tamara! There are onions in there!” And I pretended I was surprised and revolted and said, “Oh ****!” But then I went on enjoying them, because I’m an enigma wrapped in a mystery, and a mystery wrapped in an enigma. With more than onions.
I don’t know that Cassidy was born to close his eyes at night and see giant woodland creatures walking through snowy forest floors with tinsel (it’s a dream, ok?) hanging from antlers that spread to the sky, but he does moose-plan and execute his moose plans like the best of them. And so, when he once scheduled a dog sledding adventure for us at the place we had booked for our wedding, on a frigid, blizzard-laden December weekend – when we lived in freaking California – I was all in. It’s nice, more than nice, when someone invites you to step into their dreams. You can say it’s a game changer, can’t you?
It was right out of a Christmas novel, in fact, illustrated with red coats and mismatched mittens against a snow-white bottom and a black-as-night top. There were stars. Shooting stars. All I heard was the breath of the dogs as I snuggled into Cassidy.
I was excited for this adventure. I was even giddy for it. It was just like stepping in and out of each other’s dreams for a whole day. It was like this: Breakfast. Oh, let’s drive to see moose? Sure. Ok. I mean, YES, FREAKING, YES. Ok, cool. Oh, you can doze off on the way there, but you might miss mirrored perfection. Oh, here we are at Beluga Point. OH MY GOD, THERE ARE FREAKING WHALES RIGHT HERE AT BELUGA POINT. Ok, back in the car. Oh, here’s a moose you can stare at for a good hour. Let’s walk away from that. Here’s a bear doing yoga. Oh, here’s a bison clearly in love with you. Some elk. Some baby moose. Have a snack. You’ll need it. Go to the bathroom now. You’ll need it. Don’t pee yourself in the small plane. What’s that you say? It’s actually a helicopter? Like an elevator, it climbs to the top of the world. What will you see from up there?
There was a place to sit on the sled, and a place to stand. We started by me sitting – so I could take a few pictures – but mostly just enjoy the views of dog butts! Then we stopped about halfway through the ride to switch places.
It was challenging doing the standing part, but our guide said that she had seven-year-olds do it perfectly without falling off. I didn’t want to be remembered for flying off the sled. On the plus side, she said we would be remembered. For being cool.
After our ride, it was time to look at puppies!! I can’t remember how old they were. Maybe six days? One definitely pooped on me, but it was ok. It was a borrowed, poop-proof jacket and they had baby wipes up there for those sorts of shenanigans.
Speaking of dreams, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about someone in our tour group. I can’t remember their names but I remember their faces. An older woman (in her 80’s, I believe) was fresh off a cruise ship with a friend and they were the only two members of their senior travel group to book into their hotel and then race to the helicopter port at the last minute.
She was largely or fully dependent on a cane and had trouble both with walking and balance. I watched her get into a tiny helicopter before me. And I watched her get onto a tiny dog sled after me. She said it was her life dream since she was 13 and that her BOYFRIEND told her it was now or never. She chose NOW. She needed assistance but did it. This is Cassidy, our guide, and the woman’s friend helping her onto the helicopter. Then we rested and waited and took in astonishing views.
*Photo credit to our dog sled guide, Mariana. I took every picture I’m not in, but if I’m in it? She took it!
Next up, we have dinner on the side of a mountain (mountain cavatelli, anyone?) and since the sunsets are so late around there, do we have time for yet another adventure? After this insane day? I mean, really? What do you think we’ll see next?