A couple of months ago, my friend Cindy asked if I would be interested in going dog sledding. I was unaware that such an activity existed in New England.
Obviously, I said yes. And that is how I found myself hanging out with 4 mushers and 24 huskies at a campground in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, a few weeks ago.
We chose to go on a one-hour tour with Valley Snow Dogz. The company is owned by Lidia, a lovely woman from Manchester, England. Her lovely husband, Richard, helps out and was quite the adventure photographer on the day of our tour. Kim and Kelly are lovely twin sisters who also help give the tours.
Before we started the tour, we were introduced to the three teams of eight dogs. The dogs—all Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Huskies—were beautiful and SO sweet and gentle. Some even liked to give hugs.
There was little to no snow on the ground, so instead of sledding, we sat on the back of ATVs for our tour. The dogs were hooked up to the front of the ATVs.
When we met them, they didn’t make a peep, but as soon as they started getting hooked up, one by one, they started barking in an excited chorus. Luckily it was a sunny day and the temperature wasn’t terribly cold. We took all kinds of windy paths in the campground. The “musher” would give commands when she wanted the team to turn left or right. Sometimes they were confused, but one of the “leader” dogs eventually got it right and led us in the right direction.
I expressed my surprise at how hard the dogs were working, but Lidia assured me that this is what they are bred for. They thrive in temperatures below freezing and heat is released through their paws, so they never get too cold.
At the end of the tour, we said our farewells to the dogs and chatted with the mushers a bit. Their enthusiasm and passion for their work was a joy to witness, and I found it inspiring. Next year, I hope to try dog sledding…