A DOG SLEDDING ADVENTURE | A MUSKOKA WEEKEND | LIFESTYLE

Monday, 13 February 2017



Last week was my birthday and my boyfriend planned a special trip up to Muskoka.  As part of my birthday gift, Matt surprised me with a dog sledding trip which has been on my bucket list for a very long time.  I could not wait to finally go dog sledding, plus be surrounded by tons of siberian huskies!

With a Winter storm in effect, we bundled up with tons of layers and hit the road.  We drove up to Haliburton for our two hour experience with Winterdance Dogsled Tours.  It was indeed a beautiful drive from Toronto, with the northern scenery and snow... a true winter wonderland.  Winterdance is located at the end of a private road, on a large 5,000 acre lot close to Algonquin Park.  The trails are privately owned and very peaceful.  You are surrounded by trees, wilderness and lakes...you can't ask for anything more beautiful.

We arrived at the property and were greeted immediately.  The Winterdance team was warm, welcoming and informative.  Before embarking on our tour, we went through the basics of dog sledding with our guide John.  We learned the tips and tricks, as well as how to drive the sled and keep our dogs in good hands.  Then, we were ready to start.  



Winterdance has 150 purebred Siberian Huskies, all super friendly with completely different personalities.  It was really interesting to see how the dogs interacted with each other.  The huskies were true pack animals and working dogs, not anything like domestic pets.

The guides set up our pack leaders first and as we held their harnesses, they set up the rest of our dog team.  The huskies were strategically teamed up, as some worked better with others.  The huskies were energetic and howling, anxious to be on the trail and start running in the snow.  Our dog team consisted of 5 dogs: Ninja, Rebel, Scooby, Tariel and Misty.

Ninja and Rebel (brother and sister) were the leaders of our pack, they were calm and focused.  Scooby was a hyper husky with a wiggly butt, always anxious and howling to get going!  Tariel and Misty were mother and daughter.  Misty was strong and feisty, she was not afraid to put the other dogs in their place but was sweet with us.  Tariel was young, sweet and playful, she loved to jump up at some of the trees and branches as we stopped.  We had a great team!
We were given the time to get acquainted with our husky team, then it was time to start sledding!

(Front: Scooby. Back: Tariel & Misty)
(Matt with Tariel & Misty)
(Ninja and I)
We each had the opportunity to be a passenger and a driver.  We enjoyed the scenic views as the dogs guided us along the trail.  It was amazing to see the dogs so happy and excited to be in their natural element.  The driver is an important part of the team, always keeping an eye on the dogs to ensure they are moving safely not running into any issues.  Additionally, you are responsible for controlling the speed and balance of your sled.  To help the dogs get going, you need to push the sled to get momentum and hop onto the footboards as the dogs picked up speed.  Driving the sled was fun but more challenging on the steeper hills.  



(Tariel & Misty)
As a passenger, you really had the chance to appreciate and embrace the gorgeous scenery and have fun watching the dogs in the snow.  The trail was full of trees, snowy fields, downhills and uphills.  The heavy snowfall made the scenery even more beautiful, creating the perfect Winter experience.  By the end of the trip, we were covered in snow.  We helped hydrate our pack and spent some more time with dogs before we had to be on our way.


(All bundled up but loving this moment!)
What a fabulous experience!  The two hour tour was the perfect introduction to dog sledding and would be a great option for beginners or families.  We had a phenomenal time together with the huskies and the Winterdance staff.  Dog sledding was even more fun than I ever imagined and I can't wait to go again in the future!

A big thank you to Winterdance and our guide, John for a fabulous experience!

What is your favourite Winter sport?

2 comments:

  1. Wow, what an amazing adventure. I've never been to Muskoka and this looks like it would be awesome to do. I love huskies so this would make it extra special for me. But I might want to take one of them home lol! What a great surprise for you from your boyfriend. Thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Kasia!

      It was definitely one of the best experiences I've ever had. Just like you, I'm totally in love with huskies. It was very hard not taking one home haha!! Muskoka is such a beautiful place with lots to do. Definitely check it out if you ever have the opportunity :)

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