One of the most amazing experiences that I’ve ever had was on our trip to Alaska on Princess Cruises. We had the chance to take a helicopter ride to the top of Mendenhall Glacier for a dog sled ride. Every single one of those adventures, a first for me!
I was a little bit nervous about the helicopter ride, well, who am I kidding – I was really nervous about the entire excursion but knew this was a once in a lifetime trip so I made myself do it. I am so glad that I did, this was by far our favorite excursion on the trip. The entire experience was just amazing. I wanted to share a little bit about it with you but really encourage you to add this to your bucket list. You will NOT regret it at all!
Tour Overview (Info from Princess Cruises)
Your exciting journey begins with a ride to the heliport. There, you’ll don a pair of glacier overboots and board the helicopter for your flight over the Alaskan ice field.
During the first leg of your breathtaking flight, you’ll get to see some of nature’s most beautiful landscapes in areas that are only accessible by air. You’ll marvel at the spectacular icefalls and rock formations of the region. Notice the lush forests, glassy alpine lakes, jagged mountain peaks, and, of course, the awe-inspiring glaciers. You’ll get to see the glaciers in their various stages: advancing, retreating, cascading, or a one-of-a-kind floating glacier.
After your fifteen-minute flight, you’ll set down on the picturesque middle branch of the Norris Glacier. This is where you’ll meet top Iditarod race veteran mushers and their dogs to learn their tricks of the trade. You’ll need to master the all-important commands of Hike! Gee! and Haw!, as you and your fellow amateur mushers take turns riding in the basket and driving the dog team, along with your guide while you experience the unique thrill of zipping across a glacier behind a team of huskies.
I found it really fascinating to hear how the camp runs too. We learned how they bring the dogs in, saw in their kitchen, and heard how they live on the top of a glacier for the season. I wish they had an overnight option where we could have stayed to see how everything works behind the scenes but I’m afraid I’m to much of a wimp to make it even more than a few hours in the cold!
Our dog sled ride was so awesome! We had the chance to stand in the back of the sled and help break too. It’s amazing how well those dogs follow commands. We only went a short ways from the camp, but if the wind picks up and blows the slow, you wouldn’t be able to see the camp and be completely dependent on the dogs to get you back and they would! It was such an amazing time and I really wish my boys would have been there with us.
The helicopter ride was nothing short of breathtaking, the glacier amazing and the dogs were pretty darn adorable!