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“Really nice tour”

Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields
Ranked #2 of 65 Tours in Fairbanks
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: I invite you to visit my home, when you come to Fairbanks. I can introduce to my big , friendly huskies, (incase you need a dog- fix while you're away from your own dog) and explain what it's like out on the winter trail camping at 30 ° below zero. I will compare the camping with the routine on the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest ( I was the first woman to complete the race back in 1974, the second running.) And I will share tales of the 1,200 mile dog sled journey in Siberia, the greatest adventure I've experienced so far. Of course you'll check out the garden and go in the cabin and have some home baked refreshments, (You may have seen the cabin on the Home & Garden show) I feel so lucky to live here and I love to share my life with travelers.
Reviewed 29 December 2017 via mobile

I love Mary's tour Soo much! She has very nice dogs and very good stories! And very experienced at how to get stucked truck out of the snow lol. Very recommend!

Thank Yaosen T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (457)
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in 58 reviews
"kitchen table"
in 22 reviews
"amazing woman"
in 19 reviews
"sled dogs"
in 70 reviews
"children's books"
in 12 reviews
"log cabin"
in 26 reviews
in 31 reviews
"big boy"
in 9 reviews
"life story"
in 10 reviews
"sod roof"
in 5 reviews
"fascinating stories"
in 8 reviews
in 35 reviews
"lovely home"
in 6 reviews
"dog yard"
in 11 reviews
"iditarod race"
in 15 reviews
"yukon quest"
in 25 reviews
"living legend"
in 6 reviews

32 - 36 of 458 reviews

Reviewed 28 December 2017

Mary is a wonderful, gracious and thoughtful hostess, I visited her home way back in early October, just before the snow arrived. I had planned to visit a dog mushing tour as there are a few tours advertised.

One of Mary's friends, Jane, owner of the Running Reindeer Ranch, Fairbanks, Alaska, recommended that I visit Mary. I never expected to be in a room with a true "gladiator"! Mary's talks of her adventures is so worth a visit!

The warmth and expertise Mary shared with us, there were quite a few of us, maybe 15 of us, crammed around her kitchen table, we had tons of questions, about her, about her trials and ultimate triumph. Yes, she had dogs and puppies running around. It was so much fun to learn about the dogs, about Mary's life on how she came to Alaska, her adventures with the dogs, and her current life in Alaska. She's truly a one of a kind, a unique figure exuding determination, independence, integrity, and a joy to visit. Bring your questions, she loves them!

Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes that you do not mind getting dirty, the dogs are friendly and freely roam Mary's home. I would also recommend that you purchase Mary's books, all include fascinating information. I promise, people of all ages will enjoy Mary's speech, her video and especially, her cookies :)

On a side note, visit Denali Park... it is truly spectacular and well worth the drive The vastness & beauty will bring into clearer focus the terrain which Mary raced with her dogs. It is not for the faint of heart!

Thank Stephanie V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2017

I never write reviews. In fact, I procrastinated 2 months before writing this one, but I just had to tell others how amazing and fun it was to visit Mary Shields. As time goes by I start to forget what I did in Alaska or things that I saw, but I will never forget the feeling that I had after visiting Mary. If you want to really experience Alaska and find out why people live there and do the things they do, then this is the excursion that you must take. Whether you love dogs or not, you will be not be disappointed. Mary is a unique individual that you should take some time to be around. You will come away a better person for it. Mary is a beacon of hope in what is sometimes an overcast world.

1  Thank MikeGav55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2017

Mary is a most wonderful person and has become a very special friend to us. Each time we've visited, we've learned so much more about Mary's adventures, not only with the Iditarod and Yukon Quest, but with the camping/mushing experiences she's had over the years, the Hope race from Alaska to Siberia to wonderful insights of the people who have made the sport of mushing and are/were her colleagues. Mary's passion of the sport, her love for her dogs, her love of nature and environment is awe inspiring. Each of her dogs are very special well cared for family members and athletes. Being a dog lover, it's very rewarding spending time meeting and interacting with them.

Time spent with Mary and her Alaskan Huskies is definitely an opportunity that should not be overlooked when you find yourself in Fairbanks.

To quote Helen Keller ~ "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."
(This spot on describing sled dogs.)

Thank CarolK09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary S, Owner at Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2017

It was wonderful to see you once again. My puppies are growing so quickly just as fast as the nights lengthen with amazing aurora or snow. Yes, together will must pull together for the environment too and find the special wonders in nature every day. Mary

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Reviewed 6 October 2017

My wife and I were planning to visit Fairbanks for a few days while on our AK vacation and after reading all the tripadvisor reviews this activity was at the top of our list. According to her web site "tours" ended about 15 Sep but we weren't getting into Fairbanks until late on the 16th so I began e-mailing Mary months in advance to see if it might still be possible to meet with her during our days in Fairbanks. Mary was very accommodating and in the end we, along with 2 other couples, met with her for our 10:00 am "tour" on a Sunday, 17 Sep. Everyone parked in the driveway and we were all greeted by one of Mary's dogs (Smokey I believe) on our arrival.

During our visit Mary was in an electric wheelchair and one of her neighbors was there helping her out. The terrain around her log cabin in not particularly wheelchair friendly and on top of that it had rained some so getting around on grass in a wheelchair was challenging - but no issue at all for Mary!!

We started out in Mary's garden area where she told us all about the various plants and vegetables she raises, how the climate there dictates what is in the garden, etc.

After the garden we all went down to the pen where the dogs are kept to meet her dogs. There were about 6 adult dogs (all on chains at their doghouse) and 2 puppies about 5 weeks old. After telling us about all the dogs Mary asked if anyone was nervous around the dogs and whether we would be OK if they were let off the chains to run around some. Everyone was fine with that so the dogs were let loose and we played with the puppies and dogs, fed some dogs some treats, etc.

After some time the dogs were chained up again and we proceeded to a space between the garden and the dog pen which had a fire pit, a dog sled, a tent and some benches. We then sat down there while Mary told us some about how she came to be in AK, how she got into dog mushing, a typical routine when on the trail with dogs and making camp each day, etc.

At this point we were all welcomed into Mary's cozy log cabin where she and her friend served us hot chocolate/coffer/water or whatever and some delicious, fresh home made cookies. The 6 of us guests all sat with Mary around her dining room table and she continued to tell us about her life, her love of dogs, mushing, conservation, etc. It was just a joy to sit and listen to the stories of her life experiences, ask her questions, etc. Mary has also written several books, some of which are children's books, and she has those, along with a few other items, for sale. We have 4 grandkids so we picked out some books for them and Mary graciously agreed to sign each of them and include a personal note to the children, asking their names and the name of any dogs they might have - how thoughtful.

Mary has led a truly fascinating life and it was so incredible she would welcome us into her home like old friends and spend time telling us about her many adventures and adversities. While the "tour" was supposed to be from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, we were there until just after 2:00 pm. Mary was more than happy to share stories of her life with us, as well as answer our questions, and made no attempt to get us out the door! Her hospitality is unparalleled!

If you are in Fairbanks there is NO activity I would recommend over a visit to meet Mary and her dogs - a truly wonderful experience that I wish our grandkids could have shared with us!!

Thank MT1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary S, Owner at Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2017

Thank you for the enjoyable fall time visit, there is now a dusting of snow. My dear puppies are growing so fast as are the nights with aurora that dazzles. Hope you can return again in the future. Mary

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