I personally believe that a dog sledding holiday is one of the most magical, fun and adventurous vacations that you can have. This makes it a terrific family activity and one that you will always cherish. In addition to the exhilarating experience and astonishing views, a key part of its charm is connecting with the animals and seeing them in a beautiful habitat (this makes it a particularly special experience for any animal-loving families). |
To inspire you and get you in the mood for an unforgettable dog sledding holiday with Summit & Blue, here are a few sled dogs who have left their paw prints across the history books.
- Balto – Balto is immortalised forever in a statue in New York’s legendary Central Park. He is famous for being the lead dog on the final leg of the Alaskan serum run in 1925 from Nenana to Nome, in which a diphtheria antitoxin was transported to combat the disease. Balto stayed on track through near whiteout conditions and in the pitch black, ensuring that he (and everybody else) became national heroes.
- Togo – Another hero from the crucial 1925 serum run wasTogo, who was somewhat overshadowed by Balto. Togo was the lead dog for the longest stretch, travelling 170 miles in 3 days and in temperatures estimated at -30 Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of -85 Fahrenheit due to the gale force winds. Despite this, Togo powered through and many felt that he deserved the most plaudits.
- Baldy of Nome – Musher Scotty Allan is famed for winning multiple All-Alaska Sweepstakes back in the early 1900s, but he could not have done this without his faithful companion Baldy of Nome. There is a remarkable story, retold in Esther Birdsall Darling’s “Baldy of Nome” book, in which Scotty was knocked unconscious and fell off the sled. His lead dog noticed this and managed to track him down in the snow, before going on to win. Man’s best friend indeed.
- Navarre of the North – This beautiful animal is famous for being the grandson of Baldy of Nome and is also the subject of a book by Esther Birdsall Darling.
- Taro and Jiro – These two legendary dogs were the sole survivors of a 1958 Japanese expedition to the Antarctica. After an unexpected storm the expedition went horribly wrong, as the crew become stuck in an ice well. The ship and crew were evacuated by helicopter, but they tragically had to leave behind the 15 dogs. A year later, another expedition found two of the dogs had miraculously survived and endured the harsh conditions for an entire year. Their stories were retold in a pair of films.
These are a few of my favourites – there are some truly incredible stories to discover if you have not heard of any of these animals.
- Buck – It is not just real life sled dogs that we love, as Buck from Jack London’s 1903 short novel “The Call of the Wild” is another amazing animal. Buck is stolen from his home and sold to become a sled dog, seeing him transform to become a leader in the wild. A story that is not for the faint of heart.
At Summit & Blue, we have a number of dog sledding holiday destinations, including the Dolomites, Spanish Pyrenees and around Canada’s finest ski resorts. Give me a call today and I can tell you more about this breathtaking experience.
Richard Edwards is the Managing Director of Summit & Blue, an adventure holiday company offering independently crafted holidays to destinations around the world, including France, Italy, Portugal, USA and Canada. If you're looking for a unique adventure, like a dog sledding holiday, ski touring, biking, hiking, white water rafting or canoeing, we create exciting itineraries for those looking for an experience a little more off the beaten track.
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