I am so excited to share one of my bucket list items. I have always wanted to go dogsledding. Turning 40 this year has made me revisit my need to fill some of my dreams. Fortunately, my family is super supportive of going to Northern Minnesota- home of very cold weather- and making my dream come true. Even thought they enjoyed it just as much as I did. Spring Break came at a perfect time for the kids. The snow has been low all year for us, but a trip up north by the Boundary Water Canoe Area uncovered enough snow for us to have a great time.
We chose the outfitter Wintergreen Dog Sled Lodge. They are highly recommended and very well rated. I felt the price was a little steep, but I realize how much it does cost to run one of the operations. Sixty Five Dogs reside here, I can’t imagine what it costs to feed them! We chose the daytrip option. With kids and it being cold, I was anxious about the weather- but that was unfounded. I was having too much fun to worry about the cold.
We spent the first hour learning the rules, commands and safety features of the sled. The girls listened intently and thank goodness and when I fell off the dogs kept going and they had to control the sled.
Once we got going, we spent about three hours going over frozen lakes, through cranberry bogs, over large hills, up large hills and over frozen tundra. Each sled is built for two standing and each is pulled by 5 dogs. The dogs are bred to lead, hence when you stop, they howl, bark and try to be the lead man. There is ALWAYS one dominate dog. These dogs look like wolves, because they are direct descendants of wolves.
Alice got a little lose before we left. Each group of 4 sleds had two guides, our guide was great at helping us as needed, but did not have a lot of knowledge when we asked questions about the dogs.
When we were finished, they had hot chocolate and coffee to warm up. They had games and small souvenirs that you could purchase. Typical of MN outfitters in the far north, it was pretty laid back. The communication was not all that great, when got back, they hooked up the dogs and then just disappeared. We really did not know what to do, we had not paid, nor were not sure if we were done, or if we were going back out? Another couple that was with us asked if lunch was provided. I felt they were short staffed, they had large groups arriving and no real direction. The experience was great and I would do it again in a heartbeat, just the one negative is I felt a little disoriented with no clear plan.
It would have been nice if they would have shown us a map or let us know what direction we were going in. We just kind of followed along. I also would not recommend taking kids any younger than ours. It required a lot of athleticism. I was sore for two days after we returned home, the dogs know the trail, but the sleds still hit trees and rocks.