Discovering the Joys of Dogsledding in the Canadian Wilderness

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Hooking up the Dogs

Our minds are full of the poetry of Robert Service, as we 'mush' our own way down a woodland track in Ontario's "Near North". The road ahead is dominated by the waving tails of our seven sled dogs, spread over a line twenty feet long, as they joyously pull us through a winter wonderland.

"Gee!" The dogs obediently veer to the right, as I try out the direction commands, trees rushing by on each side of the wide trail.

"Haw!" The sled straightens out again, as I turn them back to the left. Well, at least the dogs seem to know what they're doing. Allison and I, novice dog handlers, are not nearly so confident. I try to remember the careful instructions, delivered in a warm room with a stationary sled and a comatose dog, during our morning orientation.

Out here in the woods, with the track spinning out from under the sled, it's not quite the same. Our noble leader on this day's outing is a quarter mile ahead of us, checking on our survival with occasional glances to the rear. He's close enough if we get into trouble, but not available for a quick consultation. Obviously a man who promotes independent action . . .

Never mind. The day is glorious, the sun sparking off the high drifts at trail's edge, the fresh snow brilliant against the impossible blue of the sky. Snugged down under a blanket, Allison is squeaking in concert with the sled runners, as we race down the wind.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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