Having been around dogs most of my life, I have been exposed, at least peripherally, to quite a few of the huge and ever-growing number of “dog sports.” But never dog sledding! So when my friend and fellow bulldog club member, Barbara Gattis, came back from her trip to Colorado and regaled us with stories of her dog sledding experience I was spellbound. Firstly, because of her out – and – out enthusiasm for this sport, and secondly because she painted with her words a vivid, albeit cold, scene that fascinated me. So I asked her to write a bit about her experience. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. She almost makes me want to venture out into those colder climes. Almost.
Check It Off The Bucket List
“We decided to take a family trip with grown kids to Brackenridge, Colorado. I knew they were gonna go check out skiing. But as for me, my husband and sister we were making safer plans. I researched things to do in Colorado and found they did dog sledding. Oh so cool, I just had to get it off my bucket list. My kind of fun, as with my fascination for dogs this was gonna be great! We did not know what to expect, but there we were, my kids and me, my husband and sister waiting on our guide to teach us. There was snow everywhere and here pulls up a beautiful team of dogs, mostly malamute’s and some malamute crosses. They were so sweet, loving on us as much as we were loving on them.
These dogs thrive on the excitement of people and sledding. I could feel the excitement of the dog’s steady barking and chattering to go. The mushers explained that the first two dogs were the leads and the brains of the team. They take instructions on guiding the team and take commands from the musher. Then there are the point dogs who swing the team wide on the corners. And then there are 2 team dogs to provide more power. And lastly the wheel dogs, the powerhouses and the largest muscle dogs. They are so beautiful. We were told all about the sled and how to lean from side to side to help direct the sled and how to use the brake with your foot. And if you should roll over just keep rolling and the sled rolls back up and the dogs will stop.
Hike It Up
There were six of us and the guide runs a snowmobile with a four passenger sled for the other musher to run with you, watch you and help direct the dogs with commands. My husband was first driver and I was first passenger. They were told” hike it up,” that being the command to go. What a rush! We were gliding through snow behind powerful legs running together, around corners watching the lead dogs take charge, the point dogs moving the whole team either left or right in corners so as not to make short corners. I was blown away at the way this team worked. They were listening and running all at the same time through beautiful snow covered mountains. Of course then came a corner where my husband didn’t quite lean far enough and over we went, real easy and soft and fun. We laughed so hard, and did just like they said to do. You roll, the sled pops upright, and the dogs stop. From that moment on, the laughter and fun was out of control. We spent almost two hours switching places and people with these wonderful dogs, learning their history while others were driving the team. It was so amazing! I was sure this guide had the dream job. He loved these dogs, sledding and sharing his knowledge and understanding of how majestic these animals are in what they do. We had easy, medium and hard courses and learned that these dogs can and do amazing things running, I have to say, I have not learned enough about these dogs and the history of sledding, but I want to go back and do it again. I will never forget the beauty of the trees and mountain trails and the speed of dogs running in unison carrying a laughing amateur musher and her passenger. Many thanks to Good Times Adventures of Brackenridge, Colorado for having such a great snow day. What a thrill! “
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