SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Denali Express to the Wilderness Train Ride

No matter where you visit in the great state of Alaska, a visitor can find exceptional adventure mushing and/or sled dog programs and tours during the summer. Some of these operations are located on glaciers and visitors can actually experience sledding on snow and ice. Other operations have cart rides or kennel tours. Any first time Alaskan visitor should at least see one of these operations and experience the enthusiasm of the Alaskan Husky.

SP Kennel does not have one of these Summer Tour Programs. Instead of bringing visitors to the kennel, the kennel goes to to where the visitors are: Denali National Park. Aliy and Allen speak to thousands of Holland America and Princess Cruise guests.

Their job is very entertaining since every SP Kennel presentation also involves an Alaska Railroad Train ride. As the train travels north, towards Denali, Aliy and Allen give a short ‘how we got into dog mushing’ talk and follow it with a ‘what is all this sled dog racing about’ speech. They pass out SP Kennel postcards to all and give away kennel t-shirts to a lucky few. The entire train ride is 2 1/2 hours and they will talk to between 500 and 700 guests per day. This specific Denali Express to the Wilderness Train (DEX) runs once or twice a week depending on the cruise ship schedule.


Allen and Aliy entertain train passegers with stories about sled dogs and adventure.


"All aboard!" The train stops to pick up Allen and Aliy; Winding north toward Denali.

Why doesn’t SP Kennel have a Summer Tour Program in Two Rivers?
SP Kennel is Aliy and Allen’s home. Inviting ten, twenty or several hundred visitors -- no matter how friendly and happy they are -- is a bit overwhelming. Although the kennel is a fantastic place, it can only be shared on a significantly smaller scale. That’s because the SP Kennel visitors’ lounge is also Aliy and Allen’s living room / kitchen / dining room. When a visitor enjoys a cup of coffee at the kennel, they are sitting in the same chairs that Moira, Chris, Wes and Wendy wrestle over all winter long. It’s the same spot that the kennel crew plans race strategies, food drops, handler calendars and daily chores. And the visitors better not mind dog hair… it's everywhere! When a visitor drives onto the kennel property there is a 100% chance that a dog is running around somewhere. It also takes a little extra effort to drive the local Two Rivers roads. There is about 2 miles of a gravel or dirt trail/ road that leads to the kennel door step. There has been one motor coach attempt the driveway but the driver was very talented and did an 18 point turn in order to exit.

9 comments:

Nessmuk said...

That's an awesome way to educate the public on this great sport of sled dog racing!! You have to wonder how many fans you inspire to start following races each season. I totally get not wanting to have buses of tourists visiting your home through the summer weeks...seems like the train gig fits your goals just fine! Those are some lucky tourists on the train!

Cindy Schaus said...

Very nice observation deck on the train. Lucky passengers getting to hear Aliy and Allen talk about sled dogs. And the landscape is so pretty. The summer glacier sled dog expeditions sound fun. I may need to plan on doing that in a year or two, leaving the unbearable 100 degree temps we have in July & August and go cool off on a glacier with sled dogs. I can't think of a better vacation.

Dawn E said...

One of my trips to Alaska included a trip on this train in 2000. Wish I had seen them at that time. I'd have been a fan longer that way! Great train ride, the stories from Aliy & Allen would have topped my trip off!

Carrie Hopkins, Windsor, CT said...

I can't wait to see you guys in about a month when I get off the ship and hop on the train!! I've been looking forward to this trip for a year and am so excited to see you and the Alaskan landscape!

Sunny said...

Smart. Totally get it. (Read Helen and Scott Nearing's books for what a 'public' can do to your life at home!) Aliy and Allen - you obviously have what it takes to train happy and healthy dogs that win and place well in races AND you spend time educating the public, sharing knowledge. Paid or not, what better way to do this than go to where the public is? Thank you for doing what you do and for sharing it with that public. The more people that learn about successful and happy racing kennels, the better off the sport will be.

Leanne Muir, Winnipeg, MB Canada said...

Thanks for the presentation yesterday on the Princess/Holland America Denali Express. It was very interesting and informative! I will definitely be following you on your adventures and following you during the Iditarod in 2017.

Anonymous said...

You know, telling a good story is a talent - and I trust all those who meet you on the Denali Express will become fans of SP Kennel - WOOF!!!

Best,

Margaret
P.S. So happy to see you back in the groove of you routine!!!

Dan in El Paso said...

A very humorous post. Thanks for writing it!

tmcaleer said...

Hmmmm, wondering if non cruisers can just take the train and hear the presentation.