Ready to Run: Dogsledding is the Thrill of a Lifetime
As snow falls and accumulates in northern Minnesota, it’s not uncommon to find a trail of paw prints from a team of Alaskan huskies winding across frozen lakes and rivers and through the woods, followed by the marks of a sled.
Odds are that the mushers driving those sleds were having just as much fun as the dogs pulling them.
Dogsledding is a great way to experience the beauty and quiet solitude of Minnesota and the adrenaline rush that comes with gliding through the snow as the dogs enthusiastically pull ahead. The excitement of the sled dogs is truly contagious.
People of all ages can now enjoy the thrill of mushing and dogsledding as more breeders and dogsled outfitters share their passion and knowledge through day trips, overnight trips and dogsledding expeditions.
A father/daughter guide duo, John and Joanna Oberg, takes travelers on guided trips through their family-owned business, Run Silent Dog Sled Trips, located in Ely. This northeastern Minnesota town is a major dogsledding area. Check out www.ely.org for more information. There are dogsledding outfitters in Bemidji, Grand Marais, Lutsen, Cook and Loretto.
The dogs might make it look easy, but one misconception of dogsledding, John Oberg says, is that it’s a “piece of cake” for those controlling the team (all steering is done through voice command). Many outfitters encourage visitors to take an introductory class on mushing, meet the dogs, ask many questions and practice standing on the sled. It’s important to pay attention to details, such as watching when the dogs are hooked up to the sled, and listen to the commands.
“When people first get started, everyone is keyed up and intense,” Oberg explains. “As the day goes on, they let their guard down.”
Resort guests in the Gunflint Trail area can take a one to two hour ride on a dogsled through the woods and over frozen lakes, leaving the “driving” to an experienced musher. It is a perfect way to appreciate Minnesota in the winter months.
“It’s a winter wonderland of beauty,” Oberg says, adding that people remember their dogsledding adventures for the rest of their lives.
To find a list of dogsledding outfitters, go to www.exploreminnesota.com