I said to Chuck while we were planning our winter vacation to the U.P., “We should try dog sledding, wouldn’t that be a hoot?” He needed little encouragement and before I could bat an eye, I was bundled up and on a dog sled in Munising, Michigan.
Everyone should try dog sledding
Dog Sledding Map
When the a packet of papers arrived in the mail from Triple Creek Kennel, I said, “Chuck what have you signed us up for?” I wasn’t really expecting a reply, but he said, “No worries, I have an adventure map so it will be fine.”
Let the Adventure Begin
With the adventure map, a case of Redbull and snow falling at an alarming rate, we exited the Holiday Inn in Munising and loaded into the Tahoe. I was mildly concerned, but I kept my thoughts to myself.
Chuck explains the Dog Sledding Adventure.
We clearly couldn’t follow the directions on the adventure map. We had to call for help when we found ourselves at the Seney turn. We eventually found the sign and the road. Not sure how we missed the sign! I think the only thing they want us to know is U-Drive.
When we called to ask for directions at the Seney turn, we were assured the road was plowed. I’m not sure how plowed is defined.
Reached our Destination
We found our guide, Matt. He was a little surprised to see us too. He wasn’t sure if we would make it because of the snow. We assured him that we were never concerned, but I can assure you, we were all worried we wouldn’t leave until Spring.
Gear up for Mushing
The flyer we received with the map provided the following warning: “Mushing is one of the most unique sports, exciting and invigorating of all Michigan outdoor activities. It offers the thrill of speed, the quiet of the forest, the challenge of threading a sled down a winding narrow timber path, and the excitement of the dog team in harness, barking in eagerness. The Musher will test your physical fitness in working with the dogs as they pull the sled up hills and over obstacles. Like all sports, the prepared participant will fare much better. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan can be a harsh and unforgiving environment. The key to enjoyment of the mushing experience centers around warm clothing.
Dog Sled Lessons
Matt provided us with instructions:
- Stand on the rails
- Stand on the pad to break
- Always stay on sled and when you stop, put the snow hook in the snow and put one foot on the hook and one foot on the sled
- The dogs know where to go so don’t worry about driving
Harness the dogs
While Matt was harnessing the dogs, Angie and I poked around the door yard and Chuck helped by shoveling some snow. Jeff made friends with the dogs.
Our YouTube playlist of videos from our dog sledding adventure gives you a taste.
The dogs were beautiful and very sweet. They were eager to run and it appeared they loved pulling the sled.
Lay off the Bagels
Chuck was convinced the dogs were looking at him and thinking, “Lay off the bagels dude!” There was about a foot of fresh snow on the ground. Matt warned us that it would be slow going because of it, but the dogs would be fine. He was ahead of us on the snowmobile and Angie and Jeff were behind us on their dog sled. I’m not going to sugar coat it, Chuck was getting quite the workout. The dogs would occasionally stop and turn their heads and eye us. Matt commented during one of our breaks for Chuck to catch his breath, “It is a good thing you are in great shape, otherwise this would be really hard.”
Stay in Touch
We had fantastic time during our 2014 Michigan Winter Vacation. We have many more pictures in our gallery and our upcoming itinerary blog post condenses the vacation into a single post. As always, you can keep in touch with us by signing up for our email or you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Cheers!