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“Wise Woman of the North”

Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields
Ranked #3 of 62 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 November 12, 2013

Having the honor of visiting Mary Shields in her cheerful, cozy Fairbanks home at dusk was among the highlights of our 2-week Alaskan vacation. The experience was extraordinary -- playing with her friendly puppies and dogs, learning about native plants in her garden, watching old videos, and enjoying homemade blueberry brownies (a first for us) while listening to her fascinating stories about not only completing the Iditarod but also what it means to be an Alaskan and to be one with nature -- and she is an extraordinary person as well. Her warmth radiates from the phone and her writing even before you meet her and is 100% sincere. She has shown tremendous courage and resilience in many facets of her life. She s highly perceptive and sensitive to the inclinations of individual people within the group, and encourages complete openness with questions and concerns throughout the conversation. She is, in a word, enlightened. It was a privilege and a treat to meet her...I was sad that our paths wouldn't be crossing again in the near future.

As an animal welfare advocate, I was also reassured that the safety and health of Mary's dogs is of paramount importance to her and highest priority, even when racing. She takes plenty of precautions to ensure that they don't overexert themselves, that they are well protected, and that they have plenty of nutrition to sustain them at every leg of their journey.

This is an experience not to be missed.

Thank silverlining_nj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
maryshields, Owner at Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2013

Oh My!! You are too kind with your review. And you have just written my business plan for me. Yes I am trying to be those things you noticed, but admit I am still in my "Beginner's Mind" stage. Thank you for taking the time to mention those attempts where I have succeeded. Your encouragement will help me open up more and share this incredible life I have been given. May Alaska's angels keep us close. "Space doesn't mean much," as my old friend J. Hulbert once said, upon moving to Florida, after a lifetime in Alaska. We will meet again, whenever Alaskan images and memories call us together. Thank you my friend.

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293 - 297 of 435 reviews

Reviewed November 8, 2013

This is a must do if you're in the Fairbanks area. I found out about this tour when I started planning our Alaska vacation & knew right then I had to work Fairbanks into our travels. Mary has lots of good trail stories. We got to play with her dogs and some puppies she was boarding. We got to see her garden and learn about the different flowers. You're invited into her cabin for cake and juice. This was one of the highlights of our Alaska trip.

Thank KRB21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
maryshields, Owner at Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields, responded to this reviewResponded December 25, 2013

Thank you for your concise down-to-earth review. I'm glad o hear y program gave you the experience you were wanting. Each group has different interests. It is Christmas Day today. The temperature at the airport the 39° BE:OW 0° Santa may want to trade in her reindeer for a couple of huskies! Happy Holidays to you.

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Reviewed October 15, 2013

My wife and I visited Fairbanks in July, and this was definitely one of the highlights. Despite a slight scheduling mishap (a large group showed up on the wrong day), the activities were fun and interactive. Mary said that typically she does not schedule groups larger than eight people.

We enjoyed talking with Mary and hearing all of her stories of the Iditarod, as well as a general explanation of dog sledding. One of the highlights was howling and having the dogs join in (including the puppies).

This was a great experience, and we would recommend it to anyone who is in Fairbanks.

Thank Greg H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
maryshields, Owner at Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields, responded to this reviewResponded November 15, 2013

Thanks for your review., your positive review, even though you were disappointed that you were not in a small group. i didn't mean to make the" big group" that joined us, responsible for the mistake in scheduling. I must have changed their reservation to that day because that was the only slot they could visit. I don't really remember because of my mistake but I should be in better control of that. It was my fault, and I apologize you ended up in a large group.Thanks for being such good sports.
Mary

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Reviewed October 15, 2013

Mary made my first-hand exposure to sled dogs and the sport of mushing so memorable. She enchanted us with her experience, philosophy and lifestyle over coffee and birthday cupcakes. We were welcomed all over again by OJ, Crocket, Big Boy, Frosty and Too Sweet who sang their songs to let us know we were part of the pack. Thank you, Mary, for such a precious gift. I want to be a musher when I "grow up."

Thank Jocelyn F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
maryshields, Owner at Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields, responded to this reviewResponded November 14, 2013

Please come back and be a musher with my dogs anytime you want to. I can tell you would be kind to your team and they in turn would be kind to you ( IE not play tricks on you) I'm so happy to share this gift with you. Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed it too.

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Reviewed October 14, 2013

Not only does this provide a wealth of information on mushing and the classic Iditarod race, but Mary brings alive that Alaskan spirit by sharing her home, her dogs, and her stories with people. I left feeling inspired and making plans for coming back soon. Don't leave Fairbanks without doing this!

1  Thank NouveauSojourner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
maryshields, Owner at Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields, responded to this reviewResponded November 13, 2013

Looks like this is the first review you have submitted. Thank you so much for going to the trouble. I'm glad you are returning. I am eager to share my home and dogs and stories, because others have taught me how to do this, from their sharing with me. It must be an Alaskan tradition. When life has given me so much, it is only normal to want to pass it on to the travelers, who come down my trail. See you next trip. You are always welcome.

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