It’s been a long held desire of mine to have my own dog one day so I was so thrilled to be able to join a Mountain Man Dog Sled Adventures tour last week. Every time I heard the kennel when I was riding on Orient Ridge I was hit with a pang of jealously of whoever was setting off behind a team.Recently taken over by new owners, Chris and Taryn, these Sun Peaks mushers have a had a great first season. They have about 50 mixed Alaskan Huskies, some of which they inherited from the previous owners and others have come to them through different channels. While this seemed like a huge amount of dogs to me, I was assured Chris has looked after much larger kennels.
Bred for purpose, these dogs all looked like individuals and showed great personalities. The dogs were overjoyed to have you come and say hello.During the first part of tour we walked around, meeting different dogs while asking questions about the operation. Taryn explained the experience could be as hands-on as I wanted. As soon as it became clear we were heading out on a tour the energy level in the kennel went up about four notches. Every dog perked up and wanted to be chosen to run.Getting harnessedBeing led to the sledStoked!Ready to goAs we led dogs to be harnessed, I couldn’t believe how beyond-excited they were! Lunging forward, it took a bit of strength to hold them. Their energy was contagious and I couldn't wait to get on the trail either. I was up to drive the team first and after a brief rundown the sled was in my hands. I yelled, “Ready, Go!” and eased off the brake. As soon as the dogs felt the pressure ease they were off.The first thing I noticed was the silence. The barking ceased as they lunged forward, putting their energy toward the trail. The second thing I noticed was how incredibly smooth the ride was. Standing on the back of the sled felt surprising natural and as we headed swiftly towards the narrow trail my confidence grew. I realized why this was such a popular method of transportation in the north.The snowy woods surrounded us on all sides, and over 10cm of fresh, gorgeous snow had fallen over night. The rest of the world seemed to melt away as we headed farther a long the trail.Skating or running a bit to help the team on hills, we made it to our first break. The dogs looked elated and basked in the praise and treats they were given. Our team leaders were Kootenay and Skunky. I had fallen for Kootenay right away, with his more traditional husky face and calmer demeanor. Six dogs made up the team and other 6 on the sled ahead of us. Brand new, this sled has space for one passenger, one driver and a guide driver and is a great new addition to the tours.Foxy and ShredderThis guy might love snow more than I do
A younger dog learns to be a confident lead from the veteran with 1,000km racing experienceWhen they team sensed they were close to home they found more energy and sped up. A bit of downhill and six dogs in front of you is all you need to feel like you are getting some real speed! From my comfy seat in the sled we emerged from the trees and headed back in the direction of Tod Mountain.
Homeward BoundDuring my time with Chirs, Tayrn and their dogs I got sense of how much passion, patience and work goes into their operation. These dogs may be a bit different then your average pet but they are just as loved. It’s definitely a full time job. Looking towards the future they plan to expand their breeding program also the trail system at Sun Peaks. A brief glance at their Facebook page shows you how memorable these tours are for all their guests. Thanks so much to Mountain Man adventures for sharing this unique experience with me and I can’t wait to come visit again!
Tags: sun peaks, mountain man adventures, dogsledding, snow, husky