Tonya Damron Photography

Fairbanks Dog Mushing Tours || Alaskan Adventure || Knoxville TN Photographer

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Fairbanks Dog Mushing Tours || Alaskan Adventure || Knoxville TN Photographer

I wouldn’t change a thing, a sentence I hope to stay a lot more in life.  There are so many things we have regrets over, things we wish we didn’t do and things we wish we did do. I hope to have less of both in life moving forward!  My crazy adventure to Fairbanks, Alaska was like no other trip I have ever experienced. On a whim I planned this trip and it turned out to be the best trip for my soul! A week in a place where no one knew me, there were no schedules to follow, no exceptions to meet and a place where every single experience was brand new. That’s why I love traveling, it’s a simple way for me to push the reset button when life gets a little crazy.

One of the things I wanted to do was dog mushing. I mean come on, when would I get to do this again? I did a little research and all signs pointed to Lance Mackey! Read his story below, you’ll understand why I chose his kennel!

Lance Mackey’s story is simply amazing (click to watch video)!  Lance has a long line of family history with mushing and Iditarod winners. His dream almost ended when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001 and underwent extensive surgery and radiation treatment. Lance started the 2002 Iditarod with a feeding tube still in place in his stomach but had to drop out of the race halfway into it. Lance took 2003 off to regroup. For the next several years he continued to run dogs and dream of winning the Iditarod. In 2005 he entered the Yukon Quest, another challenging 1,000 mile sled dog race, and he won it in his rookie year. Repeat victories in 2006, 2007 and 2008 make him the first Yukon Quest Champion to win the race four times and the only person to win four times in a row. In 2007, he returned to the Iditarod. Again he beat the odds and did what was previously thought to be impossible: he won both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in the same year and within two weeks of each other. He repeated that feat in 2008. In 2009 he won the Iditarod again, defeating intense competition and severe weather. His 2010 victory made Lance the first to win in four consecutive years. (another video about his story here)

Lance was out of town that week, but my experience was still amazing! Pato, was on the mushing trip with me, he’s picture below with his dog. The drive to the kennel takes a little while, it’s in the middle of nowhere, but isn’t all of Alaska!  I arrived to the kennel and the dogs started going crazy as we walked out to get them into their harness. They were so excited to go on a run (see the video I shot here). I can’t even begin to describe the view once we got on the trail, however the last photograph on the blog shows it off pretty well. The team was professional, the dogs were trained to know exactly what to do and despite the cold (my eyebrows and eyelashes had ice on them) it was worth it all! I It was an incredible experience to say the least and I’m so happy I did it!

Cheers to more solo adventures!



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