Gee Haw!

Posted by on February 6, 2016 at 12:28 am :: No Comments

Jason and I enjoy an adventure as much as Captain Kirk, only he likes to hook up with green babes and we like to hook up with dogs.* When our friends Meggie and Ben asked if we’d be interested in trying dog sledding with them, we didn’t have to think twice. Any day is a good day to explore strange new worlds or just attempt something new.

Cloud is the newest and youngest member of the team. She was darling.

Cloud is the newest and youngest member of the team. She was darling.

As soon as the sleds came out, the barking started.

As soon as the sleds came out, the barking started.

Pawsatch operates near Park City. They have a couple teams of dogs. Our group of four rode with their Beatfeet Sled Dogs in two different sleighs. Due to the snow that had accumulated in the days immediately preceding our ride, we were not able to mush into the “wild” but instead looped around a large golf course situated in a wooded dell. It wasn’t exactly the wilderness but it was serene enough to almost count.

Ben took the majority of these pictures. I didn't bring my fanciest camera so I only got a few.

Ben took the majority of these pictures. I didn’t bring my fanciest camera so I only got a few.

The excitement was off the ground!

The excitement was off the ground!

The dogs were incredibly energetic and, according to their owner, their metabolisms match. But, beyond that, they didn’t fit any of the stereotypes for racing canines. They were short haired breeds not puffy huskies. (Short haired sled dogs are generally faster but don’t do as well in cold climates, like Alaska, for obvious reasons.) These pups were also very friendly and loved being petted and cuddled. What sweet creatures!

The more weight in a sled, the more dogs have to be added to the tow rope and the less control the driver has. Apparently, Mahana requires eight cows and we require nine dogs.

The more weight in a sled, the more dogs have to be added to the tow rope and the less control the driver has. Apparently, Mahana requires eight cows and we require nine dogs.

Our sled was slim but cozy.

Our sled was slim but cozy.

Dog sledding has a bit of a bad rep and, frankly, some of it is deserved. Apparently, sledders that care more about winning races than the health of their dogs are not terribly uncommon. However, the owner of these particular pooches, Bino, a 20-year racing veteran, has won vet awards for his excellent treatment of his animals on multiple occasions.

Getting the dogs to stop seemed a lot trickier than getting them to start.

Getting the dogs to stop seemed a lot trickier than getting them to start.

Before sledding, the pack was too anxious to be interested in much petting. Afterwards, that's all they were interested in.

Before sledding, the pack was too anxious to be interested in much petting. Afterwards, that’s all they were interested in.

I should also address the other mistreated elephant in the room. Having dogs pull a sled may sound cruel but it’s no different than having a horse tow a cart. Besides, it was quite obvious that these canines love mushing. As soon as the process for attaching them to the tug line began, their barking and wagging became nearly unmanageable. Many of them started jumping three or four feet in the air on all four paws in anticipation. I’ve never seen dogs do that before.

The pups were sociable and eager for attention.

The pups were sociable and eager for attention.

We hung out with the dogs for quite a while after sledding because they were simply too cute.

We hung out with the dogs for quite a while after sledding because they were simply too cute.

Sledding with Pawsatch was slick. We really enjoyed interacting with the dogs and asking lots of questions. Perhaps Kirk was a little hasty with his no-dogs-just-babes policy.

*Yes, that just happened. I made a Star Trek reference in a post about dog mushing. I’m a nerd so just go with it.

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