I was keen to visit the Yukon as it seemed a bit more wild and off the beaten track. It also presented a great opportunity to visit Alaskan huskies in their natural environment.
During my research I came across Muktuk Adventures near Whitehorse, a 100 acre ranch with husky dog kennels, specialising in sledding adventures. It wasn’t yet winter so not yet time to break out the sleds, but they offer training runs in summer and fall. I booked a tour before I left NZ, planning on the bus from Edmonton arriving at about 4.30am with the tour starting at 9am. The late bus threw that plan out the window but after finding breakfast and picking up my rental car, I made the 20 minute drive out to Muktuk. Luckily they could still accommodate me.
The rows and rows of dogs and kennels was quite a sight and sound.
I was met by Frank Turner (left in the photo above), owner of the property. Muktuk has about 100 dogs, some retired. It is clear they adore their dogs and have a very caring philosophy.
A female musher, Simi, showed me around and took me on a training ride.
When there’s no snow they use 4-wheel bikes. On our run they harnessed up nine dogs and we went around some nearby trails. The autumn air was very fresh which was handy for countering sleep deprivation courtesy of the interminably long bus ride.
After the run I went to pay a closer visit to some of the huskies. All lovely and very friendly. There was a batch of 8-week old puppies – this fella could have made a good souvenir if it occurred to me to tuck him into one of my pockets.
The tour included lunch during which they showed a video of the Yukon Quest. The Quest is a 1000 mile sled dog race held each Feb. Frank Turner is a past competitor and Mutuk usually enters a team.
And that concluded my close encounter with huskies. It was time to head back into Whitehorse and find where I was staying.