We are going dog sledding!
Why? Because dog sledding is a traveler’s best friend for sightseeing during the winter season for all ages, abilities and disabilities.
When notified our Mom was coming to our snow packed mountain village this Xmas we asked ourselves, “What do we do for adventure with a young-at-heart senior?”
It had to be something safe and it had to be something with very little physical activity but still producing great sightseeing results.
How did we come up with dog sledding? Easy… dog sledding is the best way to sightsee Canada with little physical activity in the winter months and… here is the kicker… it was on her bucket list.
Dog sledding, in our opinion, is a great fit for all ages and fitness levels. No experience required. Everything is taken care for you. No effort needed. Just sit back, enjoy the ride, and take it all in. Perfect!
A sledding adventure provides access to some of the most remote areas of the country during the winter months. These are the same areas which some people may think are unreachable. And that is too bad because in Canada the snow and ice season provides such magical sightseeing scenery.
Eric Marsden of Revelstoke Dogsled Adventures provided us with our adventure and agreed with us to feature his company. The day trip would include an interpretive guide (that would be Eric) and include a 10 kilometre out-and-back day trip exploring the winter backcountry.
Eric picked Mom, Colin and I up at 9 AM. Outside… it had stopped snowing and Jack Frost was nipping at our noses.
It did not matter, Colin and I could not feel a thing… we were all dressed up for warmth looking a lot like Egyptian mummies. Mom, being the fashion forward lady she is, looked more like an Inuit lady with her hat, mukluks and parka.
As we made our way to the staging area (unloading area and trailhead) Eric gave us a brief run down about the art of dog sledding and the history of his dogs. When asked if we would like to be part of the preparation of the dogs and sled we jumped all over the opportunity.
At the staging area we all took part in harnessing the dogs – including Mom. The dogs licked, barked, whined and howled with excitement when they saw the harnesses. Surprisingly though, when we started to apply the harness the dogs calmed right down and, with most of them, they stepped right into the harness. No fuss. No foul. Just a lot of doggie kisses.
A quick glance over at Mom and we could see she had made a canine friend. Keno, one of the dogs off leash, was bonding with our mother. Not sure who was pawing who but they both seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Eric refers to his dog team as the “Powderhounds.” They are so dang cute too. According to Eric he has two teams of dogs. Our team was made up of older dogs and another set was his younger racing dogs. Since the trip was for a senior person we might as well bring in the senior dogs. It only seemed like the respectful thing to do.
Mom took her place in the captain’s seat on the sled. I was instructed to hold down the line while Eric hooked up the dogs. Colin secured a seat in the front.
Locked in, video on go, Colin and Mom were ready. Once the dogs were hooked onto the line Eric jumped on the back of the sled and they were off! Mush! Mush!
(SLEDDING) Santa may get all the press pulling his sled by calling out, ” On Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen.” But here in Revelstoke, on this day, Eric Marsden was our Santa and his team of dogs were our reindeer pulling our sled. I could almost hear Eric calling out his dog team just like Santa would, “On Keno, on Safire, on Pepper and Chevy. On Oreo, on Lady Emily, on Pam, Comet and Orange!” It has a nice ring to it.
The route our group took was like a long and endless white tunnel. The tree branches sagged to the ground under the weight of the snow forming the side walls – many taking on the posture of a weeping willow tree.The snow tunnel looked like something out of a fairy tale movie. All that was missing was the background music.
The dogs were pushing on and hard. They dragged the sled up the hills and then they worked hard to stay in front of the sled on the way down the hills. They always wagged, huffed and grunted but never did the dogs bark out one complaint. They were in the zone.
The winter scenery takes over your thoughts when you dog sled. Sounds? You notice very little, if any? “Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse,” as they say. It was silent running from here on in.
Time passes by fast when you are having fun. Before we knew it we were out-and-back at the staging area. Just like that 20 kilometres explored.
The Powderhounds were huffing and puffing sucking in as much air as they could. Still… with anticipation in their eyes the dogs knew they were in for a treat. Just then, Eric brings out a bucket comprised with some sort of moose meat soup concoction. Most dogs gulped it down. Some picked out their favourite parts. One pushed his soup away, as if to say, “Not right now I am trying to breath.”
For Mom, Colin and I, we finished our adventure sharing stories huddled around the truck with a warm cup of cocoa warming our hands. Smiles all around. We were happy to have made the time to create some new memories which will last a lifetime.
It was, in so many ways, sad to see our adventure come to an end. The scenery so captivating – postcard like – it was easy to see why Eric and his dogs enjoyed what they do so much.
Dog sledding is, sometimes, lost in the glare of the media that our ski mountains receive in Canada. But do not be fooled. If you like sightseeing in the summer, then you must sightsee in the winter – it is a totally different country when dressed in white. There is no simpler way to be one with nature in our snow and ice season.
When in Revelstoke, BC, Canada why not follow in our footsteps and arrange a tour with Eric and Revelstoke Dogsled Adventures. If you have not figured it our yet… dog sledding is the sightseeing adventure of choice for the winter season for all ages, abilities and disabilities.
As we drive away from the staging area MOM says, “Thank you for making a dream come true!”
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