Monday, March 2, 2015

Our First Dog Sled Ride

Our annual Caledonia Classics dog sled races happened again over the past weekend. And we turned out to watch, as usual. There was a change in venue this year, as there is virtually no snow on the lake. Our unnervingly warm weather has melted and refrozen the snow until the lake is a big mess. So the races were held in the forest instead. It was a beautiful location, but it did make viewing the races more challenging (and the racers had to race in timed heats, not mass starts due to a narrow trail). 
 The corner that was set-up for viewing was an exciting corner, as the dogs flew around it and the mushers tried hard to keep the sled on the trail.

 A group from Valemount came up to do public rides and so, Kesten and I got our very first opportunity to ride in a dog sled. Here they are getting the dogs ready.
 I was so impressed at the strength and speed of the dogs. There were two mushers behind us, so altogether 3 adults and one child, and the mushers had the brake on most of the time so the dogs didn't go too fast. We flew! It was really very thrilling.
 It was a cold day compared to the weather we have been having, about -10c when we went for our ride. By the time we got back, my face was feeling quite frozen from heading into the wind. Another thing I never thought about when riding in a dog sled, is that the dogs kick up bits of ice and snow as they run, and you have to shield your face from those small chunks. I got a good sized iceball to the forehead. Haha. Kesten was lower down and seemed to avoid both these problems. He looks a bit grumpy in the photo below, but he had lots of fun. Oh, and I think some of the sled dogs had gas.
 Cedar and Daddy stayed warm by the fire. There was yummy food, as always. If you ask Kesten about the highlight of his day, he would say it was the cupcake he ate, not the dog sled ride. Ha!
 In the picture below, you can see a very broken sled to the left of the red truck. This sled belonged to one of the stage racers. Apparently he smashed it up going over a creek wrong.
 And at the end of the day, Kesten and I got to ride again in a sled pulled by a single dog for the Kid and Mutt races. So much fun!

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