Sunday, March 9, 2014

dogs and sleds and things

Dogsledding has always been a major item on my bucketlist.

Dogs, snow, and sleds. Oh and did I mention dogs?

I finally got to check dogsledding off my bucketlist yesterday.

I had originally planned to go with my sister, but she flopped on me last minute so I decided to bring my dad... And he seemed to enjoy it more than I thought he would!

We went with Toronto Adventures, from a deal K had found me from Facebook. A day of dogsledding and snowshoeing, with transportation included? Yes please!

The drive was about 1.5 hours, to a little north of Barrie.

We started off with snowshoeing.

The snowshoes were not what I expected. I was thinking they would be like those old wooden tennis racquet looking types, but these were much more modern. Our guide explained that different sized snowshoes were used for different depths of snow. Since we weren't snowshoeing across super deep hills of snow, ours were relatively small.

We hiked through Copeland Forest and the views were just plain beautiful. It was a bright sunny day so the conditions were perfect. 

We were told to keep our eyes peeled for woodpeckers or songbirds, but unfortunately we didn't get to see anything.


Snowshoeing was tricky at first but super fun. I knicked my finger when undoing my snowshoes though... that part, not so fun.

I didn't realize how beneficial the snowshoes were until after I had taken them off and tried to walk through what I thought was a normal snow patch....

Not impressed.

After snowshoeing was the main event-- DOGSLEDDING! (woooo)

My dad drove the sled first, and I sat as his precious cargo (ha ha). 

We sledded past more snowy winter wonderland landscapes. 

It was quite calming and peaceful.

Except for when we hit little hills. Then it became painful.

They should really add some sort of cushioning to the sled for the person sitting in it. I had to brace myself every time we approached a bump, otherwise my tailbone would take quite the beating.

Then it was my turn to drive!

Ready for takeoff!

"Hike up!" was what we had to yell to get the dogs started. There was no word to get them to stop though, only a brake. We were advised not to ride the brake because that would hurt the dogs' backs.

The silver thing is the brake. These photos were shot when stopped, so no dogs were harmed in the taking of those photo.

I slipped off the sled at the beginning because the stands were super caked with snow and slippery! I had to decide in a split second whether I should let go of the sled and let my dad crash into the dogsled in front of us, or keep running and hope to hop back onto the sled while avoiding smashing my face into the sled.

I chose the latter and miraculously somehow found my footing back onto the stands and kept going (which was good for my dad, to say the least).

It was smooth sailing from then on! The only thing we had to watch out for were tree branches, and making sure that they didn't impale you if you forgot to duck.

One of our dogs would dive into the snow everytime we stopped. Our guide later told us that the dogs do that sometimes because they are hot.

Another one of our dogs was actually part wolf! That's why he was a little bit bigger and wilder looking than the rest of the pack. So cool!

Chilling in the snow. Wolfy is the dark one behind him.

Some of the dogs would also stop to eat snow, for water.

(I'm dying of cuteness right now.)

After our dogsledding adventure, we went to go look at some of the other dogs the kennel had. They had  total of 105 dogs! 

One hundred and five! I was pretty much in doggy heaven.

Sleepy baby

They also had a few puppies (!!!), which we also went to go check out.


His eyes...! 

There was a cage where I originally thought housed only one dog, but when I approached, another one stuck his head out of the barrel.

"Who's there?"

I then heard some shuffling and barking, and the two of them popped out.

And two more stuck their heads out.

How many dogs were in this thing?! And how did they all fit in there?!

I don't have a picture of it, but later two of the dogs decided it would be fun to just stand on top of the barrel.

Funniest thing ever.

We then headed back over to the bonfire that was set up to warm up a bit before our trip back home.

We smelled like smoke and campfire by the time we hopped onto the bus, but this was easily one of my most favourite winter Saturdays ever, that's for sure!

This definitely won't be the last time my hands touch a dogsled. I'm officially hooked! Next time I'm going to book a longer trip. 

A 2 hour dogsled adventure through the wilderness, anyone?

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