Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mush!

If you are ever asked to go dog sledding do you
A) laugh hysterically at the absurdity and unlikelihood of such a plan?
B) refuse based on the fact that approximately 0 inches of snow fell all winter?
C) accept immediately even if you don't know exactly what you're getting yourself into?
If you're anything like us, the obvious choice is C. When Jon's dad asked us to join him and his wife on a dog sled excursion back in February, we jumped at the chance. The whole plan came together when it was discovered that the sister of Jon's dad's wife owns somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 sled dogs. Nothing out of the ordinary there. In addition to racing the aforementioned sled dogs, the family also takes visitors on tours. They had an open weekend and graciously volunteered to let us take part in a sled ride.
We, along with Jon's dad, sister, and respective spouses, rented a condo in Washington's Bavarian mecca, Leavenworth. Even though we were further up in the mountains, the snow was less than ideal. However, we were determined to ride on a sled pulled by dogs, so that Saturday morning, we headed out to a dog sled/snowmobile trail. I really didn't know what to expect from the whole experience, but I will say that my frozen fingers and toes (I have bad circulation, okay?) were totally worth it because we had a blast.
The dogs absolutely thrive on their job of pulling a sled and could barely contain their excitement and energy. As soon as we were all settled in, they took off at a pretty good clip, despite the slushy snow. There were two sleds: a double and a one-seater. Jon and I got to ride together and were expertly guided by his dad's step-niece. Once we got past the area where all the cars and snowmobiles were parked, we were treated to a picturesque winter scene unfolding before us: snowflakes dancing in the air (more likely from the feet of the dogs than from the sky), framed by majestic evergreen trees on either side, snowcapped mountains ahead, and a clear blue-gray sky above. The only sound was the crunch of snow underfoot and under-sled.
Until the dogs made a wrong turn.
But again, our expert guide quickly straightened them out and we continued our ride. All too soon it was over...and the dogs were exhausted.
We took advantage of our location and finished out the weekend the following day with a nice morning of cross country skiing, the only kind of skiing I can--and will--do. Mostly it was for the exercise, but I think just a little part of us was trying to gear up for our next adventure: the Winter Olympics.

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