Thought I'd provide a slight change from the wildlife images. Some folks have requested photos of Muddy, so they are included later in the post. First, I wanted to provide some pertinent sled dog history. The Denali National Park huskies have a long history in the park (NPS Photo above).They are the only sled dog teams that conduct patrols in any national park.
When Denali received its first park ranger in 1921, Harry Karstens, pictured above (NPS Photo), he used sled dogs to patrol and address the rampant poaching within the park boundaries.
By the late 1920s, the kennels had expanded. The current building you see pictured above and to the left was constructed in 1928. You can really feel the history when you walk into the building.
Within the building and pictured above are some examples of the antique and current sleds used on sled dog patrol. The same tradition of sled dog patrol continues today. The sled dogs provide transportation for the park rangers in the winter to patrol the back country, resupply park cabins and assist researchers. The dogs' winter patrol is on average about 3,000 miles. One interesting fact is that this breed of dog is most comfortable at approximately -10 degrees. They are so well insulated that when they lay in the snow it doesn't melt. A short, interesting, video produced by the Discovery Channel about the sled dogs can be viewed on this link: Denali Sled Dogs
During the summer season, one of the most popular interpretive programs in Denali is the sled dog demonstration. An average of 50,000 visitors view the show.
At the end of the program a ranger takes the dogs on a short run through the woods for the visitors to see the dogs in action, as seen above.
Also, since the dogs don't get any sled time during the summer season, they ask the ranger staff for volunteers to adopt a sled dog for the summer. Since the camera gear lackey was not able to join me in Denali, I have a summer bride and adopted a female dog named Muddy, pictured in her pen above.
Your responsibility after adoption is to walk your dog as many times as possible during the week. Muddy and I have become good friends. She usually spots me when I walk into the kennel area and starts barking like above, just raring to go for our walk.
Before I put her leash on, she jumps up on top of her house on command.
She is quite a handful. When we take our 4 mile walk most nights, she pulls me the entire time. As you can see she is a rusty brown and a unique color from all her other team members.