I never expected to be doing many of the things I’ve had the chance do during these Olympic Games. The pavilions during the Games have been a great way to learn more about my country and a boon to the various tourism organizations in Canada.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Alberta rented out a train to give people an Albertan experience but the Travel Yukon folks took it one step further by offering folks a one day Yukon experience by actually chartering an Air North 737 and flying a bunch of us up to Whitehorse for a day:
Since it was a very short trip, we were then whisked off to our chosen tours right away. I picked dog mushing at Muktuk Adventures as I’ve never done it before and it seemed to be the perfect Yukon activity to do.
I took turns with my partner riding in or driving the dog sled.
While I really wanted to just sit in the sled and take photos while someone else drove, it really was amazing to be in the driver’s seat. Not that I had to do much, the dogs know what to do and all I really needed to do was hold on and step on the brake to slow them down occasionally…all they seemed to want to do is run.
I nicknamed her “Crazy Tongue” for obvious reasons (but I found out her real name is ‘Sweetie’):
She also kept looking back at us as if to say “hey, lay off the brakes dude, we just want to run!”. Watch for her in this video:
When the dogs overheat, the stop and roll around in the snow and eat it to cool off
As you can see, we had perfect weather for our adventure
Muktuk Adventures is run by Frank Turner who as run the Yukon Quest many times and raises/trains dogs for the race. He talked to us about how the dogs work as a team and how important trust is in that relationship. It was clear to see he really loves his dogs and treats them as if they were his children.
Once back from dog mushing, we then headed to the McBride Museum for a reception and had the opportunity to sample some great local Yukon beers:
try out panning for gold (it’s harder than it looks):
I even managed to find some (about a dollar’s worth):
and to experience the Sour Toe Cocktail:
That really is an actual human toe that you put into a shot of whiskey…it must touch your lips for you to officially ‘do the sour toe’…but here’s Captain Dick to explain what this is all about:
Yes, I did it…and have a certificate to prove it:
After the Sour Toe, we were once again whisked off to a dinner banquet for the Yukon Quest participants.
This is a gruelling contest where entrants spend over 9 days out on the trail with their dogs covering 1000 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon. I was honored to be in the same room with these folks who truly push the envelope of human (and canine) endurance. I quickly noticed how big of a deal this was as there were many people at the banquet that were collecting autographs of all the mushers…it was just like they were rock stars.
Unfortunately, we had to head out early from the banquet to make our plane back to Vancouver. Before we got onboard though, there was one more surprise for us at the airport:
Something tells me this doesn’t happen for everyone that visits Whitehorse but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.
I don’t think I can express my thanks to Travel Yukon for the once in a lifetime chance to experience a day in the Yukon. It was truly an amazing day that I won’t forget.