Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Dogsledding at Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, Minnesota. February 6. '23

My dream to go dogsledding became a reality on February 6.

A friend of mine and I drove to Ely, Minnesota to go on a one day dogsledding adventure at the Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge, located outside of Ely at White Iron Lake. 

We were a small group of 6, 2 couples from the Netherlands joined us. Plus the 2 wonderful guides, Eric and Sam. After a short meet and greet we went to the dog kennels to meet our sled dogs. They are Inuit Dogs, bred as working dogs - they love to pull! that's what they live for! They are different from the huskies that are used for the dogsled races. 

The dogs were the "star of the show" - they stole my heart. I did not expect them to be so personable, lovable and friendly. They wanted ear scratches, belly rubs, kisses etc. everything our beloved pet dogs want and do as well. These dogs live outdoors year round in a pack and their personalities are as different and unique as you can imagine. They do have their differences amongst each other and make them known through barking, growling and fighting. Not all get along with each other.

The first task was to put on the harness and take the dogs to the area where the sleds are. We had 5 dogs per sled.Once that was done we went down to the lake to get ready for the trip. The dogs were full of excitement and anticipation - so was I!! 

Our five dogs were Douglas and Bugsy - the 2 lead dogs. They were like a married couple, very sweet! The middle or swing dog was Hillary, later she got changed out with Dos. The 2 dogs closest to the sled were Takanni - a big boy, and Sable, a smaller female. She was setting her boundaries very clearly. But she was funny and sweet - when we stopped the sled, she kept jumping up in the air - ready to keep going!!

We were covering a wide variety of terrain - frozen lakes, bogs, forests, and sledding over beaver dams. In total about 12 miles. I couldn't take many photos as I really had to pay attention to the dogs and the sled. We did tip the sled once but did ok otherwise. 

During our lunch break Eric treated us with his specialty - pizza bagels . Him and Sam started a fire and grilled the bagels. They were yummy! The dogs took a nap while we ate and relaxed and enjoyed the sunshine that came out briefly. 

Eric and Sam were telling stories about the different dogs. They get fed early in the morning, 2 hrs before the trip. They eat snow during the trip to stay hydrated. When we returned they got fed the second time and also got fresh water.

We had an amazing trip and experience and I would do it again any time. I highly recommend it for families with kids!! Sam told us that she was 13 years old when she went on a trip with her family and liked it so much that she would spend her winter vacations to work at the lodge. She just graduated from high school and works now as a guide. What an awesome job for a young person who loves the outdoors! Also the folks at Wintergreen are very helpful with setting up your trip. 

Enjoy my photos and trip, thanks for viewing - Susanne

Click on the photos for a larger view.

this guy was totally calm and chill, in spite of all the commotion going on

learning to put the harness on the dogs

Sam demonstrating how to put on the harness

Me and Hillary - she wanted affection, not the harness

Me and Hillary - she wanted affection, not the harness

taking the dogs to the sled

taking the dogs to the sled

getting the dogs hitched to the sled

getting ready to leave

our team on the lake

Bugsy and Douglas - our lead dogs. They are like a married couple

Bugsy and Douglas - our lead dogs. They are like a married couple

Bugsy and Douglas - our lead dogs. They look so happy

Sam - our wonderful, young guide

Sam - our wonderful, young guide

on the trail

taking a short break

Pizza bagels in the making - Eric and Sam

Sable was a sweetheart - she tried to sit on my lap

Sable was a sweetheart - she tried to sit on my lap

CeCe getting love from Dos

CeCe with Chunk - he was the biggest dog and looked like a bear

Such pretty dogs

triangular ears

tired feet resting

a well deserved nap

Chunk checking me out

CeCe with Takinna and Dos

Nap time

a beautiful harness

Eric getting the dogs ready to go after our break

Sable jumping up in the air - she was so funny

on the trail back to the lodge

our team after we returned

feeding time

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome experience! Thank you for sharing!