It's no secret to anyone who has ever strolled through a park with me that I love dogs. Between the wagging tales and happy little faces, I can't help but point them out to my strolling partner and smile. So when I saw an opportunity online to go dogsledding while in Iceland, I dropped the cash and signed up right away. I thought it would be a nice break from the road to hit the snow with the dogs. And while the dogs were really cute and it was a really fun experience, there were some things I wish I had known before going into it.
What I expected: My core knowledge of dogsledding comes from what I soaked in from watching Snow Dogs and Balto, so I imagined I would be speeding across the snowy tundra while heroic music played in the background.
How it was: The dogs had to pull me, the guide, and three other passengers so I can't blame them for not going as fast as the movies. Not only did that create more work for the dogs, more people on the sled meant trying to find the correct balance of personal space with the stranger in front of you. Where exactly is the line between "Hi, it's nice to meet you." and "It looks like I'll need to wrap my legs around your body so I can stay on the sled?"
What I expected: I decided to splurge and spend a bit more on the company's Midnight Sun Tour. I imagined that we would set off with the dogs in the dark and ride all the way up to a high mountain summit to see the sun still peaking out over the horizon.
As it turns out: In the summer even though the sun technically "sets," it is light out all the time. The Midnight Sun tour is really no more special than the regular tour except that it's a little bit later in the night. Besides, it was overcast when we went and there really wasn't much sun to be seen at all.
What I expected: Gliding through a pristine landscape of soft and fluffy snow.
Well actually: The location of our tour had to be changed at the last minute due to poor weather conditions. Though we were originally supposed to go sledding on a glacier, we ended up at a small ski resort. One of the downsides of traveling before the peak of the tourist season is that Iceland isn't quite in summer mode yet, but it's not winter anymore. The glacier was too snowy and the ski resort was melting.
Though it wasn't perfect, I still enjoyed seeing the dogs so happy to run while our tour guide told us about the history of the dogsledding company, which was the first to bring the sport to Iceland. We stopped halfway through to take a break and give the dogs some belly rubs. For me, hanging out with dogs is always going to be a good time, even with the mishaps. I do wish I could have gotten some better pictures, but unfortunately with the snow and rain these are a bit blurry. Luckily, their cuteness shines through.