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?
Janine Huldie says
Omg to the puppies. Seriously, don’t think they could have gotten any cuter. Oh and I had to show to Lily, because she is completely obsessed with puppies and I barely was able to get the phone away to comment!! 😉
haha, she liked them? I showed Scarlet just one of the photos and she said, “That settles it. I want an Alaskan Puppy for my 8th birthday.”
Those puppies! I would have had needed to smuggle one or more out. No pressure right, if 7 year olds can do it? You don’t want to be the story the guide tells every time about that lady that once fell off and got run over…
I know! I’m sure it’s happened. It wasn’t easy for me and I’m fairly able-bodied! I don’t know how kids can do it!
The adventure just keeps getting better. I love the first video – it’s like all the dogs are saying “pick me”! I WILL dog sled, even if it ends up being when I’m 80 and need a cane. And those puppies are the cutest things ever.
That’s exactly what they do! They all are aching to be pulling sleds. Too funny. And the ones that get chosen get SOOOO happy.
And I just know you will!
The Mad Mommy says
Those puppies though!!!!! ACK! I would totally be in heaven there! The puppies, the dogs, I don’t even need to go on the sled!
It was fun, but I agree. PUPPIES!!!
Claudia Willison| ImagesByCW says
Wow! May I tell you a secret? Dog sledding is one of my dreams, so even though I haven’t caught up with your Alaska adventure yet, I could not pass on this episode. It’s fantastic the elderly lady made her dream come true. Big yes to ‘now or never’!! Huskies and Malamuts are just the cutest (next to Border Collies and Athena, of course). And those hands-full-of-dog-puppies, how adorable are they?! This is a serious ‘awwwwww post’, Tamara 🙂
Good secret!! I just know it will happen for you!
And Athena is part husky, which is so cool!
Amanda Love says
WOW, you sure had an amazing experience. Dog sledding is one of my dream and I have to do it before I die, even if I’m 80 like that older lady, I’m going to do it. BTW those puppies are pure delight and reminds me of my long gone Shadow, sorry you got poop on you, but guess that just makes the experience one to remember. 🙂
I’m sure you’ll do it before you’re 80, but at least you know it can be done then!!
We had a husky until she was nearly 16!
Alright, that really was cool. I have to admit, I would be willing to do that, even though it takes place in very cold temperatures, which I don’t like. But the puppies – come on, so cute!! Being willing to share your spouse’s dreams is a wonderful way to say, “I love you”… and it often brings us closer together, and surprises us with adventures we never would have explored. By the way, not convinced there are any onions in sour cream and onion chips… just sayin’.
It wasn’t so cold! Just my feet got cold, but it was maybe 50 or so up there. Not bad! Better than here!
Snuggling warm puppies made it sooo much better.
And I laughed out loud about the onions. That’s why I was able to eat the chips, I think!
Dr. J says
Wonderful!! I’ve had two Malamutes! Zodiac and Kodiak. Great dogs. I do prefer dogs that keep their tails down, however 🙂
We had a Malamute growing up. Cody. Oh man, I miss him.
I think I’m lactating after seeing those puppies! I can’t wait to experience this when we go to Alaska – it’s my one must-do experience. This gets me so excited!!
haha, lactating!! I get it!!
So much to see and do.
The puppies are so cute! What an incredible adventure 🙂
I miss them! By now, they’re probably so big, but maybe there are new litters. OOOH!
Ahhh that was so amazing!!! I’ve never done something like those – dog sledding and riding a helicopter. Also, I’m so glad someone could take photos of you there! 😉
The puppies are soooo cute! And the story about that old woman is heartwarming. ♥
I was so happy she took my camera!!!
Between the puppies and the old woman, these photographs were must-haves!
Allison G smith says
Tamara? What didn’t you do while you were there? Cassidy is very lucky. Don’t think I could step into that area😱.
We did a lot, but there’s SO MUCH we didn’t do. Sadly, you’ll see that soon! Weather and motion sickness got in our way.
Mrs. AOK says
PUPPIES!!! Did you ever pinch yourself and question out loud, “Is this real life?” BECAUSE this is such an amazing vacation/memory.
Oh my god – THE WHOLE TIME!!
I think your dream just became my dream. These pictures are insane. And then I got to the baby husky puppy pictures AND HOLY GOOD GOD, I’m qvelling with cuteness overload over here. Also I’m totally inspired by that 80+ year old woman’s story 🙂 I was going to ask how cold you were on a scale of 1 to I-Can’t-Feel-My-Face but seems you already answered that. Glad it wasn’t too crazy! XOXO
Yup, not too cold at all! It looks it, though. It feels like August in Alaska even if it looks like December in Alaska! On a glacier, anyway.
The puppies.. the puppies are everything!
Amber Myers says
OO these puppies! It almost makes me want one. Almost. But no. I can only deal with cats for now.
Funny, because I think the dog is so much easier than the cat!! I think that’s rare, though.
lisa thomson-The Great Escape... says
Wow! Stunning. Thanks for sharing your experience here, Tamara! Ah, the puppies! I love the pic of Cassidy peeking over his sunglasses while holding the puppies. Frameworthy. Well, all you photos are frameworthy. I love the story of the elderly woman fulfilling her dreams!! And some of your words here really touched me, like when someone invites you into their dream. Sigh. All so beautiful and your dream descriptions, too!!
Thank you!!! It’s really fun to share this, and I feel this great need to get every important detail in. I hope I don’t forget any! It was the trip of a lifetime for sure, and yet I hope to do it again. And even better!
Sonya K says
That’s amazing that the older lady’s boyfriend said it was either now or never and that she took the opportunity to do it now. That’s wonderful that she didn’t let her age or her or her physical state keep her from achieving the dream that she held for so long.
I so agree. Watching that unfold seems to me to have heightened my own experience that much.
Bev Feldman @ Linkouture says
Those puppies!! I want to just reach into the screen and hold them.
And those dogs! So much energy.
And that woman from the cruise fulfilling her dream!
It’s all just magic, isn’t it?
I miss them! I think they must be so much bigger now, after four months or so.
It’s SO magical.
You may remember that I am not a animal person AT ALL but by golly I think you converted me!! Holy cuteness batman!! I have loved each and everyone of these recaps.
Well that means a lot! Scarlet really wants a puppy for her 8th birthday next year. I don’t know if I can say no…
That’s amazing! I saw a google map done by dogsled once. They’re so cool.
What??? That sounds amazing!!
It does look like its straight out of a dream! Those puppies are so stinkin cute 🙂
If I didn’t have these photos, I’d think it WAS a dream.
Those puppies – so adorable. I love seeing so much joy on your face, Tamara. What a memorable trip – I am so glad you fulfilled this dream. xo
Thank you, Rudri!! I’m so glad someone took photos of me, to capture the joy.
Kenya G. Johnson says
LOL did Cassidy pick up the puppies from sleeping? That one frowny one looks like he woke him up for school or something. So was it just like regular temps for you and Cassidy – like you’re used to it? Your nose and knuckles are red but you don’t have on a hat. And just how long DID you have to hold your pee and did you think about that until you finally got to go?
They were totally all sleeping in a mushy, gushy pile of cute! The frowny one cracked me up!
So it wasn’t cold up there. It wasn’t warm but it was maybe 50 or so? But my feet were cold from touching snow. A strange sensation!
And I really didn’t have to pee up there!
OMG give them to me!!! All. The. Puppies. I wants them. Seriously, I could happily live right there on the frozen ground with them. I am slowly realizing via your adventure and photos, that if I ever go to Alaska, I am probably very much in danger of never returning. At least that is what I am going to tell hubby because maybe he will buy me a sled dog puppy so he won’t lose me to the wilds. 🙂
It happens to the best of us! There’s certainly a pull to live there. Except for Wasilla. It was very unimpressive!