Glacier Living


Sorry for the radio silence this summer, but the team and I have had limited internet and cell phone access up on the glacier! The dogs have all been doing really well and are enjoying the extra attention from all the tour guests. Here’s a brief Q&A to give everyone an idea about our glacier summer:

How are the tours structured?
Guests arrive by helicopter to Dog Camp atop the Denver Glacier. After unloading, everyone listens to a brief safety talk and then walks to their respective musher’s yard. Prior to the guest’s arrival, I have selected the 8-10 dogs that will be on the tour and staged them on a picket line next to the gangline. I greet the guests as they arrive at my yard and then introduce them to all the dogs in the team. As I’m introducing each dog, the guests get to pet and greet the team. After all the dogs get some extra TLC, we head back to the sled. The guests (2-4 people) load onto either the main sled or the tag sled. I give a brief safety talk and then hook up the team with the help of my handler, a fellow named Matt from Texas. From there, we mush around a 1.5 to 2 mile loop, stopping for photos and more time with the dogs. When we arrive back at camp, I leave my team and walk with the guests to a puppy pen where they get to hold six-week-old pups. (Sidenote: the pups belong to Jessie Royer. I’m hoping to have puppies in a couple months, fingers crossed! I’ll be sure to share more info when the time comes closer!) After puppy time, I leave my guests and head back to my yard to prep for the next tour.

Jana and Katy leading a tour.

How many tours per day?
I can give anywhere from zero to eleven hour-long tours per day. The first part of the summer, the weather held out and we gave tours every day; however, the last week, we’ve had several “weathered days,” meaning low clouds prevented helicopters from reaching camp and causing us to cancel tours. Each dog runs only 2-3 tours per day assuming we’re giving tours. Anytime I have a day off, the dogs also have the day off.

What is the living situation?
The dogs and I will be living on the glacier through August (weather dependent). I fly down to Skagway once a week for either 36 or 48 hours off, during which time I can take a shower, do laundry, and update the blog! On the glacier, there are several different sizes of weather ports. The weather port that I live in is partitioned off into two sections. I live in one section with my tent mate, MacKenzie, from Kansas.

What amenities are on the glacier?
We have a lounge tent with a TV, DVD player, and Nintendo 64. That being said, I mostly read, play cards, chitchat, or workout. There’s a bench with an impressive amount of weights, especially considering we’re on a glacier! We also have a full time cook, Virginia, who prepares three delicious meals per day and always has tasty snacks sitting out. Stormy’s favorite place is the kitchen tent with Virginia. She has her own chair in the middle of the kitchen where she spends most of her day. There’s a cell booster; however, cell connection is very spotty and unreliable.

A sunset in Skagway

I’ve LOVED having the opportunity to work with the dogs every single day, especially the youngsters who seem to have limitless energy. The African Litter, Amelia, Cooke, and Flash have been maturing so fast, and I can’t wait to work with them more this upcoming winter.

Feel free to write more questions in the comments below, and I’ll answer them in the next blog post!

Exploring the glacier.

Cloudy days on the glacier.

Cloudy days on the glacier.

Glacier exploration with the crew.

Glacier exploration with the crew.

Enjoy the flight to dog camp!

A sightseeing helicopter flight.

Another photo from exploring the glacier.