Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paw power

On Saturday morning, we crawled out of bed in the wee hours, dressed ourselves in the dark, and then hopped in the truck (we had packed it the night before) for a 3 and a half hour drive west.  Our destination: Husky Power Dog Sledding in western Maryland.  Our mission: take a ride!  

Several months ago, I made reservations for the 5 of us (Lolli stayed home with Grandmom) and since that time, I (in particular) had been sitting on pins and needles, anxious for this day to arrive.  From the moment we stepped foot on the property until the time we waved goodbye, we all had an absolute blast and the events of the day-- without a doubt-- did not disappoint!  The owners were lovely, the dogs (all 19 of them) were beautiful, and the ride... oh, the ride.  Let me tell you, dog sledding has always been at the top of my I-really-really-really-want-to-do-list, and now I can honestly say (from a position of experience, mind you)-- if it isn't on your list, put it there!  Really.  It was that fun :) 

So.  In technical terms, we didn't actually sled.  Instead, we mushed.  The dry land way.  And to be even more precise-- the warm weather dry land way.  Typically, a dry land sled would have been used (I have a picture below), but since it was a relatively warm day-- approximately 40 degrees-- the dogs pulled us on an ATV instead.  And here's why: the use of a motorized vehicle gave the musher a bit more control over the dogs' exertion level.  You see, the dogs prefer much cooler temps.  Cooler, as in -10 to 20 degrees F... yikes! So when the day is toasty, as ours was, the owners pull out the ATV. For most of our ride, it's power wasn't needed; the musher just kept the engine in neutral.  But when the dogs reached an incline, he kicked it in to gear.  Working too hard in warm air can be harmful to the pups, and the owners certainly didn't want any of their dogs overheating. 

So, here's the "colonel" with Zsa-- the matriarch, the alpha... the gal at the top of the pecking order. They headed to the front of the line~

And below is the super-cool rig.  It's a Touri-- a German dry land "sled" of sorts.  It's the one the dogs pull when the air is cold.  Bub liked it so much, he asked if we could combine his birthday money for the next ten years (plus some!) to buy him one (currently, there are only 6 in the U.S.).  He said he'd worry about acquiring a dog team sometime thereafter :)

Of course, a ride on snow in a traditional sled would have been great fun, too-- perhaps next winter...

This handsome pup is Oreo (he liked Chris!), and he was my favorite.

Noh-man really enjoyed meeting all the dogs.  He wanted to buy Zoomer; unfortunately, Zommer was not for sale.

Our good friends from church went with us, and that made our day even better!

My friend, Cheryl, took this photo of us-- that's Big Man sitting in front of Jake (the musher) and that's Chris and me on the back.  So, so fun!

So now I've been dog sledding, or at least-- dry land mushing.  And it was utterly fantastic! 

 Next go round... a ride in the snow!!

1 comment:

Lorna said...

How wonderful! Our daughter dreams of doing this. Jack London is her favourite author and she has carved wooden huskies and a wooden sled. Unfortunately we live in London :-)
Thank you for sharing your amazing experience with us. The dog photos are superb!