Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dog Sledding

As many of you already know, this past weekend I traveled 3 hours north to Haliburton with my family to go dogsledding.  We headed out for our weekend getaway Saturday morning, and enjoyed the afternoon at the Pinestone Resort, just outside of  Haliburton.  On Sunday we had an enjoyable morning tobogganing, and after a lunch we drove another 45 minutes north to Winter Dance.

Upon our arrival we recieved a quick lesson on how to handle our sled and husky team.  We were given 2 main rules to remember.  Rule #1 - Keep your hands on the handle bar at all times; Rule #2 - Do not let go of the bar.  Other instructions were on how to control our team.  To get the dogs going, you gave the sled a small push and said "hike", to stop you put your foot on the brake bar and said "wooh",  and if the dogs seemed distracted by something, such as another husky's "poop", you had to say "on by" and hopefully they would keep going.



After our lesson, we were told that the first part of the trail is a little tiring, so the stronger of our pair should mush first and the other should  stand at the front of the ropes and welcome our lead dogs.  Sarah's first Husky was Nuisance, and mine was Hawk.

I wasn't quite sure if Hawk loved the scratches he was getting from me, but once Robin joined us and I would divide my attention he quietly pushed his head in between me and Robin demanding more.

With our teams all harnessed in, we were almost ready to hit the trails.

The rest of David and my team were Miyu in the middle, and Granite with Prince in the rear.

In the beginning we had quite a number of stop and starts.  Mainly because of the dogs pooing.  We were told that the dogs do not stop to pee, but if they squat to poo we should stop. The huskies running the Iditarod in Alaska are actually trained to poo on the run.

Some of the teams were also readjusted to run better.  Our Miyo  (the little white husky in the middle) was switched out with Sarah and Christopher's dog, Bear.

The trails were amazing, we even mushed over a frozen lake.

Just before heading up the steepest hill on the trail,  the guide behind us added one of his Huskies, "Mushu", to our team.  He was the only one on his sled and we needed a little more power.  After Mushu joined our team we just flew through the trail.

David & I took hundreds of trail photos, here are a few.

      At the half way mark rider and musher switched; Sarah & I got to mush and the guys sat in the sled to enjoy the ride.
When we were back alongside the frozen lake, we had our final stop.  To give "some loving to the dogs",  letting them know how good they were.  Don, our guide, also took a photo of the four of us with our team.

On the last leg of our tour, the dogs were great.  I think they already knew they were close to home.
Back at camp, while saying good bye to our dogs we also had to take care of them until the guides could unhook each one.  We were given water bowls for the dogs and one of the trainers gave each a piece of  hot dog.  Once back at the kennel they would get their dinner.
 Good bye Robin and Hawk
 Good  bye Prince and Granite
Good bye Eagle and Mushu

What an awesome weekend.  We generally take tour excursions when away on holiday but never close to home.  We were told about Winter Dance, and I loved every minute.  Ours was a 2 hour tour, and next year we're thinking of going again, but on the 4 hour tour.


  1. Great pics! Looks like you had a lot of fun!!!

  2. I love your is beautiful. I would want to be off patting the dogs a lot. They are so pretty. Glad you had a great time.

  3. WOW!!! I would love to do this. Looks like you had a wonderful time and perfect weather for it! Will this inspire some new designs??? :)

  4. Great experience, but not for us. We are off to Australia.

  5. What fun - glad it was a good weekend for you!

  6. Wow! you did something AMAZING!!! but I am not sure I could handle so many dogs. Glad you had some family fun after so much work at the store! Arke