March 7th, 2013
‘Jo on the Road’ Goes Dog Sledding
Hello from the UK! As mentioned in the last Experience Days blog, I came over to America the other week to see what you guys had to offer, and I can honestly say, I struggled to leave! Once I had recovered from the jet-lag I hopped into a sled and got whisked away into a land of snow-covered tranquillity … led by a pack of dogs.
After arriving at the centre we were introduced to the dogs and the sled itself; it requires quite a bit of technique to get the sled moving in the right direction, especially on corners and down hills. Whilst the staff are strapping up the dogs and checking over everything, we prepare for our journey: warm clothing, goggles on, and one of us sitting in the cosy sled, the other ready and raring to go on the break pad at the back of the sled.
Then the dogs are off! I’ve never been so amazed as they all turn silent and happily run in sync up the hill and around the track – the incredible transformation from never-ending barking and pacing in their pens to silent and focused running is staggering! Because I’ve never been dog sledding before, my partner takes the controls first and leaves me to enjoy the ride. I’m stunned into silence by the calm and peaceful atmosphere as I’m taken around the lengthy track taking in the beautiful scenery.
When it comes to my turn controlling the sled, I’m a little nervous but the second the dogs are off all worry goes and I focus on sticking to a sensible speed and enjoying the ride myself. Using a combination of the rubber mat and metal bar to slow the sled down and my body weight to steer it, I find myself loving this part of the experience. Luckily my partner trusted me enough – I was worried they may not have felt safe having their life in my hands!
An hour later and we’re nearly back at base – the dogs look nearly as gutted as us to be back already! Fortunately we both took plenty of photos around the track and even stop to have some pictures of us together on the sled … making sure not to step off the breaks or we may find the dogs running away with the sled with my partner strapped in! Once back we’re allowed to take photos of the beautiful (and extremely tired) dogs, and it turns out they own 112 altogether. I had to stop myself from going around to each one individually to take a photo and pet them!
I really did start off my week in the US with a banger, although I now have a real desire to immediately go and buy a dog myself … as you can see, they’re unbelievably cute!