Skagway Sled Dog Experience

We had plenty of time to explore our next port of call, Skagway. The ship docked at 7:00am and we didn't leave again until 9:00pm. We didn't actually leave the ship until 11:00am; a short walk took us "downtown," where Cara was able to hit all of her jewelry stops.

Am I the only one who thinks that these places exist solely to take advantage of us tourists? Okay, the shore excursions could probably be booked cheaper on-site, but there's some sense of security in booking through the cruise line. (For example, if you book your own excursion and it runs long, the ship won't wait for you.) The items in the shops, however, seem incredibly over-priced, depending on where you go.

An inexpensive trivet at one shop was $8, but I saw it for $5 at another. A $240 piece of art at one location was half that just down the street.

Okay, but I didn't come to Skagway for the shopping; that's just a bonus if I find something I like. I came for the sights—and the dogs. Alaskan Huskies, that is.

Alaskan huskies Actually, Cara's the one that just adores Huskies. So we signed up for the "Musher's Camp and Sled Dog Discovery" excursion. Getting there was half the fun, because we took a 35-minute drive over Skagway River and along Long Bay, getting out of the bus at a purple iris-strewn meadow at the base of Face Mountain.

I don't know how many dogs were at the camp, but our musher, Mike, had 53 dogs ranging from 13 years to one month. Mike's run the Yukon Quest four times and he's going again in February. He hooked up 16 dogs to our "land sled"—a six-passenger, wheeled contraption that resembled a golf cart—and we took off around a one-mile course through the woods.

The dogs aren't happy unless they're running, so the summer tourists really help with their training. After the run, we had a brief presentation on the care of the dogs and what it's like to run a race like the Iditarod or the Yukon Quest. Then we got to pet the puppies!