| || | CARIBOU HILLS DOG MUSHING
IN COHO & NINILCHIK
The Kenai Peninsula in south central Alaska is an area where humans and wildlife have co-existed for thousands of years. The region is topographically and geologically diverse with tall mountains, broad valleys, rolling foothills, turquoise-colored lakes and rivers, ice fields, glaciers, northern boreal forests and coastal wetlands.
The vast resources of the Peninsula, both living and non-living, combine to form diverse and complex ecosystems. From tidal marsh to alpine ridges, various natural habitats support an impressive variety of wildlife and birds to include moose, Dall sheep, mountain goat, caribou, coyotes, wolves, brown and grizzly bears, black bear, lynx, wolverine, beaver, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, loons and ravens. The Peninsula is also known worldwide for its king salmon, red salmon and halibut fishing.
Outdoor enthusiasts have much from which to choose on the Kenai Peninsula, including hiking, fishing, canoeing, sea kayaking and camping in the spring and summer and berry picking and hunting in the fall. For many, winter is the best time of the year because it is at this time that dog mushing replaces all other outdoor pursuits in terms of popularity. Dog mushing is unique to the North Country and Alaskans pursue it with a passion. It is no wonder that many dog mushers that race professionally live, work and train on the Kenai Peninsula.
This six-night, five-day dog mushing trip begins in Coho, Alaska. Guests are picked up at the Kenai Airport on the Kenai Peninsula and driven to the home of our host and instructor, Iditarod champion Dean Osmar. His beautiful home, located on a Cook Inlet bluff, has wonderful views of the Inlet and three volcanoes, Mounts Iliamna, Redoubt and Spur.
We rise early the next morning to get our first taste of working with a dog team. The morning hours will be spent getting to know the dogs and doing dog yard chores to include everything from scooping poop to harnessing dogs to a sled. Since it is very important that everyone has a positive relationship with the dogs in their team, each of us will be assigned dogs to take care of during our stay. Our first run will come later in the day, when we take an 18-mile trip through snow-covered spruce-birch forests and across frozen lakes and bogs.
The next day begins with loading dogs, sleds and gear onto trucks for our three-day, three-night dog mushing adventure in the Caribou Hills just east of Ninilchik, Alaska. In a semi-remote area of the Caribou Hills just a few miles from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Dean and his son, Tim Osmar, winner of the Yukon Quest, share a sled dog training camp. Well stay in Deans cabin and enjoy shared accommodations and family-style meals by the wood burning stove. From the camp, we will take dog mushing trips each day into the high country and explore other more remote areas of the Caribou Hills.
Our final training day will be spent breaking camp and transporting dogs and equipment back to Dean's home. After arriving, we will unload dogs, sleds and gear from our adventure and take care of the dogs needs before taking part in a farewell dinner.
The next morning, we will be driven back to the Kenai Airport for our departure home or elsewhere.
What We Provide. Dean Osmar will provide dogs, sleds, dog mushing gear, safety equipment, meals beginning with dinner the first evening and ending with breakfast the last day, shared accommodations at their home and cabin, transportation to and from the Kenai Airport and experienced dog handlers, instructors and guides.
Your Responsibility. Guests are responsible for getting to the beginning point of our trip, the Kenai, Alaska, Airport. Guests are also responsible for adequate winter clothing and footwear. Dean can provide a clothing checklist.
Important Note. This adventure is intended to provide both instruction for those interested in learning to mush dogs and a guided trip. Although no previous experience is necessary, participants need to be in good health and physical condition, enjoy being outside in cold conditions and have a sense of adventure. Previous downhill and/or cross-country skiing and running experience is recommended. Dean Osmar's dogs are racing dogs; therefore, this adventure may not be for everyone.
Trip Fee & Reservations. The trip fee is $3,848 per person. A $1,735 per person deposit is due at the time the reservation is made. The balance is due six weeks prior to the trip. Reservations made 30 days before the trip begins must be paid in full before the trip begins.
Cancellation Policy. Any cancellation made prior to 30 days before the trip begins will result in a $650 per person cancellation fee. Any cancellation made during the 30 days before the trip begins will result in a $1,735 per person cancellation fee. If the trip is canceled by Alaska Personal Journeys, the trip fee will be refunded. It is recommended that cancellation insurance be purchased through a travel agency in case the trip is canceled in order to cover non-refundable expenses such as airline and hotel fees.
Dollar-A-Day for Conservation. All of the courses and trips offered by Alaska Personal Journeys are intended to raise public awareness to the need to protect our environment. We hope you will consider contributing one dollar per day to support the work of local conservation groups doing their best to protect Alaskas special places. Simply add one dollar per day to the Alaska Personal Journeys trip fee. We will make sure that your contribution gets to the most effective conservation groups and that the group or groups sends you a receipt for tax deduction purposes.
The following itinerary may be modified due to weather, temperature and/or snow conditions. The itinerary is intended only to give guests a general idea of what to expect.
Day 0. Late afternoon/early evening arrival at the Kenai, Alaska, airport. Guests driven to Dean Osmars home in Coho, Alaska. Welcoming dinner.
Day 1. Morning orientation & afternoon dog mushing trip.
Day 2. Drive to Dean's semi-remote cabin and camp in the Caribou Hills near Ninilchik, Alaska. Afternoon dog mushing trip from the cabin and camp.
Day 3. Day-long dog mushing trip.
Day 4. Day-long dog mushing trip.
Day 5. Morning dog mushing trip. Break camp and drive back to Dean's Coho, Alaska, home. Unload dogs and equipment. Take care of dogs needs. Farewell dinner.
Day 6. Depart Dean's home for the Kenai Airport.