Yukon

 



You hear them long before you see them; a high-pitched howling; a yowling wail beyond the firs. As you crunch over the densely-packed snow, eyes squinting in the blinding sun your heart races a little - anxious - what will it be like, will you be able to hold on? What if you fall? But excitement pulses through you because a new adventure awaits just around that crop of snow-capped trees. The howls get louder; you think you're looking forward to this, just wait till you see the dogs.



Then there are they are, impossibly blue eyes flashing, teeth bared in gleeful grins, hopping wildly and clanking their leashes; they want to run, run, run! But first you have to help harness them to your sled, you stroke their fur, so thick and soft, then awkwardly insert dainty paws into their figure-of-eight shaped harnesses. Lines are clipped onto the sled and now you're almost ready to go. Turns out the basics of dog-sledding are pretty simple: put your foot on the brake. No, really. Just put your damn foot on the brake.

You lean forward; two feet firmly on the damn brake, your team of four dogs, jerking and straining to leave, and then you're off. You timidly take your heel off the brake a little, then a little more, then, wooah! Back on again - these babies want to fly! As the sled hisses over the snow and away from the yard, the disappointed yowls of the dogs left behind carry on the clear air with you. Take time to get your balance and learn the delicate dance of braking and leaning; look down at your feet, one on each 'ski' with the brake in the centre. Foot off ski, on to brake, lean to counter-balance, foot back on ski, knees bent, riding the gentle bumps in the tracks. 

Then past snowy pines, along a narrow track, the panting of the huskies a breathless counterpoint to the pattering of their paws over the snow. You're looking at your feet less now; muscle memory already kicking in as you learn the 'brake, lean, back on' dance. Into the light now, out of the trees, a clearing, no - a frozen lake; you're doing this, you can do it! Leading your own dog sled team over a frozen lake in the icy heart of the Yukon. Tempting to stop and take photographs, but you can't bear to stop, it feels so good and this is one moment you'll keep in mind forever

An hour or so in, your body's starting to feel it; feet numbing where the snow piles up on your boots, no matter how much you try to kick it off. Hands trembling from gripping the sled bar. It's still thrilling though, to watch the dogs snatch mouthfuls of snow as they gallop on and on, even more amazing to watch them run and poop at the same time. But you wonder when you're turning back and at the same time hoping you never do. Imagine a team of 12 dogs, a sled packed with camping kit and the best thermals money can buy, racing through this dazzling arctic landscape; the bluest sky, the whitest snow, the scarlet  of your Canada Goose parka the brightest thing for hundreds of miles.... but you're turning back, soon there'll be steaming hot cocoa, your feet will be warm again, but for now, all there is is you and the dogs and the snow and the sled. so mush. 

Get there with Air North 

Go sledding with the Sky High Wilderness Ranch 

 

You can stop in Canada with the Discoverer RTW

 

We also have some great hotel and tour deals here