BY CAROLIN FISCHER

Being an exchange student in the Yukon is fantastic!

When I arrived in August 2008, I had read lots about the Territory and its nature.

Now I know that there is no book and no picture that can explain and show the beauty of this place on Earth. Since I was very young, I dreamed of dog sledding and lots of snow; this – and much more – became reality during my year here.

I can’t even put into words how fascinated I was, and certainly am, by all of my experiences and impressions I won during my stay. But definitely my sled dog ride on Fish Lake is something I will never forget.

I remember …

… my excitement gets stronger and stronger, my dream becomes reality! Not only mine. Twenty-eight paws can hardly wait to start our unforgettable trip on Fish Lake. For the seven dogs it is nothing new at all, but still, they enjoy every run they do, every race they win.

A race?

It is a race against nobody, except against themselves. I feel their excitement, curiosity and happiness.

On the trail, sitting in the basket of the sled, I am speechless because of the nature and the absolutely amazing landscape. Snow-covered mountains shine and sparkle in the bright and warming sunlight.

On the horizon, huge trees move slowly in the wind-breeze as if they would be dancing their own Yukon-dance.

Snow drifts seem to tell each other anecdotes about the last winter.

I wake up and come back to reality when refreshing snow hits my face, swirled up by the dog paws. I can hear my four-legged friends running as fast as they can – for me!

We travel faster than 10 miles per hour and to listen to the musher’s whispering “ho” and “gee”, as he turns them left and right, is incredible.

Seven dogs pay close attention in every single second. Seven dogs celebrate every metre where they can do what they are born for: to run.

Time flies by and yet, it seems to be a never-ending adventure.

In the middle of the frozen lake, we turn around and I get to drive the sled.

Rough spots force me to keep my balance and the tracks seem to tell a story: the story about my dream.

My feelings experience somersaults, the smell of the dogs is inspiring and the taste of the snow is amazing. It is hard to believe that all this is not just an illusion.

No! It is actually real!

My dream becomes true; I explore the far North with a sled dog team, surrounded by a landscape and nature with a beauty more incredible than my eyes dare to believe and my mind can capture.

You have to do it yourself to understand what I adore.

This story will be entered into a draw for a chance at a free Logan Super Tour on Sifton Air or Moonlight Mushing with Sky High Wilderness or a boat tour of Kathleen Lake with Kruda Che. Send us your 500-word story describing your favourite Yukon place to editor@whatsupyukon.com. This contest is sponsored by Yukon Tourism and What’s Up Yukon.