Hop in a basket for the ride of your life
The air is cool, the snow is thick and the sun is bright. Life vibrates with every breath. Energy levels are high in anticipation of the command, “Hike!” And then a team of dogs, with lead dogs in front and the wheel dogs at back, take off on their journey, pulling ski-like runners ladened with a passenger-filled “basket,” and their Musher, or the team’s dog driver standing in the rear, directing the team.
It is dogsledding at its best, and is a pastime more and more people are seeking out during the long winter months.
As seen from “the basket,” a team of dogsledding huskies lead the way along a trail in Old Forge during a sledding adventure out of Flat Rock Mountain (www.flatrockmountainranch.com). (Photo by Larry Budro)
Local residents have traveled near and far in an attempt to experience dogsledding, with some taking weeklong trips and others satisfying their sense of adventure closer to home, right in Old Forge.
Resident Larry Budro recently discovered Sled Dog Adventure Rides, the outfit located in Old Forge.
“The morning started out at 14 below when I got there,” Budro said, noting he would probably do it again, in a bit warmer weather. He spent approximately an hour with Tom Crofut and his team of huskies as they toured an old logging trail off Route 8. Nowadays the trails are groomed by snowmobilers, he said. There are other trails that weave around a lake, and other packages are available depending on the time of the season.
“As soon as you get on the sled with your guide, the dogs stop barking and all you can hear is the dogs breathing and the wind on your face,” was a description provided by Crofut. “The winter time woods are beautiful. It’s an awesome experience.”
Another local resident, Barbara Petersen, traveled to Alaska last August with her daughter, Barbara Ann. “Alaska, the helicopter ride and dogsledding were part of my bucket list,” Petersen said, referring to the movie The Bucket List, in regards to a person’s list of things to accomplish before they die.
Petersen’s trip took her a little further than Old Forge. “We arrived in Scagway (Alaska), walked to the helicopter pads, got suited up and flew up through the mountains and glaciers to Juneau’s Denver Glacier. There were over 100 dogs with their drivers living up there at about 3,800 feet in the mountains,” she said.
Barbara Petersen, her daughter and friends traveled to Alaska this
summer and spent some time dogsledding on Juneau’s Denver Glacier.
(Photo submitted by Barbara
Both Petersen and Budro said this was an adventure they would enjoy experiencing again. “It was a blast,” Petersen said, adding that she would do it again “in a heartbeat!”
For more information on dogsledding at Flatrock Mountain Ranch, in Old Forge, call 315-369-2657 or visit www.flatrockmountainranch.com. For information on dogsledding in Alaska, check out www.akdogtour.com.