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#28621 - 02/01/23 05:35 PM Mushin'
FLSH ETR Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 1202
Loc: Cudahy, Wisconsin,USA
Back under a different thread I told of my Christmas present from my kids. Mushing sled dogs. Well, this past weekend, my daughter Becky and her friend John and I spent time in Ely, Minnesota. The outfitter was Wintergreen Dogsled. They sent us information before hand that included a list of the dogs names. I zeroed in on one named Whoopsie. Told my daughter that I hope I get her for one of my sled dogs. We arrived at the dogsled lodge and noticed a few of the dogs were running loose, meeting us mushers and needing a lot of loving and attention. As I stepped out of our van, one of the dogs ran directly to me. I petted and scratched and made a real fuss on her when I noticed her name was Whoopsie!! She picked me! How could that happen?? Anyway, at -30*s we were checked out for our clothing choice. Had to dress for the three 'W's. Wicking, warmth, and wind. With working outside and recreating my whole adult life, I had the clothes needed. This first pic shows some of us lining up for the trip. I believe there were a dozen sleds, taking turns leaving for our several hour adventure. There were some guides along the way in case there would be help needed with the dogs.
The dogs used were called Canadian Inuit Dogs. We were told they are not for speed but for freight. Becky and John had a two person sled while I had my own single person. I rode on the two runners with a large brake between to stand on when stopped. Also had to brake while going down hill to slow the sled. Also had to help the dogs going up hill by pumping like a scooter. I actually lost 5lbs that day. The sled tipped over once, and almost twice. Dogs cut the corner around a tree too close and the sled took the brunt of it. Had to step of the trail to right the sled and found the depth of the snow was between my knee and hip! I'm convinced that the trio in front of me were four legged children. They mostly listened to my commands. Sometimes not. They played together while we had to stop. Sometimes they fought and had to get their harnesses untangled. But mostly, when they had to work, they worked together, stride for stride. This last pic is of how I looked after the run. We stopped here at the dog kennels. One last scratch behind the ears and we left. Was a great and very different adventure. I would recommend it. Oh, and work out a little before hand. You'll need it!!
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#28622 - 02/02/23 11:37 AM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
musher Online   content
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Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 2407
Loc: Qc.
Good times. I've checked out the Canadian Inuit dogs. They were called Canadian Eskimo dogs back then. The guy my wife bought her trapline from had an old male and wanted to give it to me. He wanted me to have the genetics. I decided the breed was a little too primitive and slow for me. They could be "iffy" with kids and other dogs. He would not have fit the teams I had then and I wasn't looking to breed for pups.

But for a tough dog that could sleep in the snow, as you winter camp, they are ideal. Plus they look great in photos!

Glad you had a good time. Lots of people think the musher just hops on the sled and away you go. It isn't quite that. You can sweat a lot, too.

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#28623 - 02/02/23 03:45 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3046
Loc: WV
What a great Christmas gift. The kids made you happy, and that's the main thing!

From the tone of your typing, I get the impression that you had a blast! I see that snow plastered up across your butt and elbow, so we know you had fun.

A while back we had a discussion about sled dogs and all. Musher told us that some folks call that breed of dogs, Kodak dogs, cause they are so pretty.

I mentioned this before, in the other conversation, but I watched a video, it was taken from a drone. But they had 8 or 10 dogs, maybe 11? But the video showed one sled out breaking trail, in new snow, the dogs were just chugging right along. They weren't running hard, but going about the speed of a person walking on solid ground or a little faster? To me, that just looks so relaxing. No tracks out front, all new and pristine. Out in a new place, that would give a person to look around and kind of get a feel for where you are and the lay of the land.

You're supposed to tell us about your flying experience too. I'm sure you felt naked without your knife.

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#28624 - 02/02/23 04:11 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
musher Online   content
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Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 2407
Loc: Qc.
Kodak dogs are pure bred Siberian huskies.It is difficult to find an actual working lineage.

Canadian Inuit dogs and malamutes are a different thing. You will see people keeping Siberians in cities and apartments. Not so with CID's and Mals. They are too much to handle. It can be somewhat difficult to find working lineages of Mals. CID's aren't ruined, yet, but they are working at it.

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#28625 - 02/03/23 01:40 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3046
Loc: WV
Ok, Siberian huskies.

This is just my guess, but I'd guess that about all breeds of dogs are becoming watered down.

We should start a new thread, but just my opinion, just about all of our outdoor sports, hobbies and pasttimes are slowing down. I mean as far as hunting, trapping, fishing and probably "mushing".

Guys my age are dying off faster than we're being replaced. Maybe the internet has taken over interest in the Great Outdoors?

A while back I bumped into 2 friends, they were trapping, we had a creekside talk about trapping. Probably an hour chat? We talked about prices and all. And I told them: You've gotta love it.

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#28626 - 02/03/23 03:45 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: redsnow]
FLSH ETR Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 1202
Loc: Cudahy, Wisconsin,USA
Ok, so this flying thing. I went with my daughter, Becky. We left Milwaukee Sat. morning on a plane headed to Chicago. From there, after an hour plus layover, we headed north to Minneapolis. Snowed like crazy in Chicago. Watched them spray the plane twice with some kind of deicing stuff. First some pink stuff, then green. Geez, we looked like a pizza puke. Couldn't see the ground all the way until we landed in Minn. That's what I really missed. I've only been off the ground two times. My future bride and I climbed aboard a Ford Tri-Motor for a ten minute circle around the airport. That's when we had the air show at the airport. The second time was in a hot-air balloon. That was really great. Becky's friend, John, left for Minn. on Friday so he could ice dive with his scuba dudes Sat. morning. He then picked us up from the airport and we traveled four hours north to Ely. I guess I enjoyed the plane ride. I expected too much for the take off push back in my seat. From what I have always been told it would be super. Shoot, I did better dumping the clutch in my '65 GTO! And I guess I've got two cons. One is all the waiting we had to do, layovers, boarding, off loading, etc. The other is way too many people in such a small space. We could have rode up with John, but my kids wanted me to experience the flight thing. I'll fly again if there's a required reason, but not to just fly. And I think the dog sledding is a one and done. Was fun, but I think I'd rather snowshoe. Oh, and that snow that you see on me came from when the sled tipped over. I went with it!! grin
_________________________
"You're never too old to learn something stupid."

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#28627 - 02/03/23 10:35 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
FLSH ETR Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 1202
Loc: Cudahy, Wisconsin,USA
So here's a P.S. on the above entry. While mushing, I had to really pay attention to what them dogs were doing, so I couldn't do a lot of looking at the scenery. The trail was well beaten, sometimes very narrow, several inches below the adjacent snow. Occasionally, a pine bough would peek out from the side of the trail, and them dogs would try to pee on that small greenery, on the trot. That gave them a split second to squirt and go, on the go. That would disrupt the cadence of the other two, jerk the sled, but right back on track. You trappers who take your dogs with you on the trap line, really study their movements. Sometimes the sled dogs would just check out the side of the trail with no foliage showing. Probably a scent from another pee stop from another dog. That's where you need to bed a trap for the canine you're after. If the domesticated dog can sniff that well, can you imagine what the nose is like on a wild canine??
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"You're never too old to learn something stupid."

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#28628 - 02/04/23 11:08 AM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
musher Online   content
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Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 2407
Loc: Qc.
I know what you are talking about regarding the pee spots. This year, and especially this time of year, the peeing is crazy.

However, no wolves or fox have taken an interest in my dogs urine. I have had wolves come pee at the take-off point. The wolves have swung through twice and there are fox there nightly. The fox are urinating at other points that the dogs mainly ignore. Go figure.

I have one corner where the snow is a little deeper (wind) and the dogs almost all pee there. It is the first year this happens and I have no idea why. I'm guessing that it is because a couple started and ... the others joined the party. It is as peed on as the start/finish.

I have had 2 fights lately. Both involved a super peeing Siberian. He is disrupting the cadence and the other dogs are tiring of it. I am super tired of it. But it's tough to stop. The only thing that helps is speed. Tough to pee when you are being pulled by the neck!

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#28629 - 02/05/23 02:12 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3046
Loc: WV
Well, it's breeding season. Seems like about 3 weeks ago the roads were littered with possums, now it's skunks. I had a girl ask me the other day, What's the deal with the skunks?

When I first read Frank's opening comment, I read it and understood it, but kind of missed it too.

Where he was talking about the "workout", I understand, being on a sled, you're constantly shifting your weight. Constantly shifting from one hand to the other and all, trying to stay on top of the thing.

I don't know exactly how long he was on the sled? Or how many miles?

But outfitters are usually set up to take care of what you want. I mean if you'd like to go on a 2 hour trip or you'd like to go out and spend most of the day.

Just say that I'd take my buddy Wardney for dog sled adventure. Wardney is better than 80 years old now. You should be able to call the outfitter and say: Hey, I'm bringing a friend, he's 80 years old and we'd like to go sledding. We don't want to break the speed record, and we'd like to go on the scenic trip. They should be able to accomodate that request.

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#28630 - 02/05/23 07:56 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: redsnow]
FLSH ETR Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 1202
Loc: Cudahy, Wisconsin,USA
Yes, you would most surely talk to different outfitters to find out what they offer. Last year Becky and John went with another outfitter. Two to a sled, they were allowed to take turns riding in the basket while the other drove. Smoother, flatter route I assume. This year there was no riding in the basket. Way too many hills for the dogs to pull weight that wasn't helping pumping up the hills. They had a six dog team. Two lead dogs, two swing dogs, and two wheel dogs. Some of these hills required guides to help pull the teams up. My three dogs did just fine, with me pumping. So if you want to take your buddy, first figure out how fit he is. Then find out if he can ride in the basket. We signed up for a full day of mushing, including a stop for lunch, but the outfitter cancelled to a half day because of the temps. One of my team dogs greeted me by smashing his sloppy wet nose onto one of my glasses lens, which of course at minus thirty it instantly froze. Had to look out of my left one till that one fogged over and froze. Yea, ask lots of questions. Get your buddy out there. He'll love it!
_________________________
"You're never too old to learn something stupid."

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#28631 - 02/07/23 12:38 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3046
Loc: WV
I mentioned Wardney, just for an example. Wardney stopped by yesterday and we had a good talk. We were talking about hunting, not sledding. But, I wouldn't trust his footing to stand on a sled.

Depending on how an outfitter is set up, I'm sure some offer something for everyone in the family. From little kids right on up to the oldest member of the family. That might just be a big picture window, beside the fireplace where you can watch the kids playing on tubes and sleds. They probably have a couple of retired sled dogs out there running around playing with the kids and all.

I can think of lots of neat things that an outfitter could offer. Maybe this place does now? I'll check their website later today.

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#28632 - 02/08/23 02:34 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3046
Loc: WV
Search: Wintergreen Dogsled. Their website will pop up.

I looked at it yesterday, the do have some very nice pictures. Cute pictures with their dogs and pups and kids. Everyone loves a puppy!

Just looking at their pictures, I got the feeling that they are geared more toward the "younger crowd". Just thinking about it, most of the folks that I deal with day after day, they are younger than me.

Honestly, for a young man like Frank, first time musher and all, a full day of dog sledding would be pretty tough. Correct me if I'm wrong.

But looking at their pictures, looks like they have a nice lodge. Didn't see the fireplace. One thing that did stand out to me, was the way the cooks were dressed. A lot of strange looking food. I couldn't afford to eat at that place!

I can just imagine two guys like Wardney and I rolling into a place like that. Wardney would ask me what I wanted for supper, we'd talk for a little bit. The waitress would come around, Wardney would tell her to get him a steak, baked potato, green beans and a cold beer. And I'd say, I'll have the same!

To travel that far, and spend that much money, we're not going to be eating something that we can't even pronounce. Unless it looks good.

Ely, MN, seems like a nice place, and seems that it would be a nice spot for a vacation. We live in a beautiful part of the world, and there is always something fun and exciting to do year round.

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#28633 - 02/08/23 04:03 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: redsnow]
FLSH ETR Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 1202
Loc: Cudahy, Wisconsin,USA
Yea, we weren't at the lodge. We stayed at a B&B in Ely then drove 20 mins. to the lodge to start our day. Becky plugged in a slow cooker before we left the B&B and we came back to hot beef stew! Ely reminds me of the town they used in the movie 'Grumpy old men'. Snow covered, huge piles of plowed snow, and really friendly folks. "Young man like Frank"?? Yea, I think I could have handled a full day of mushin'. Just had my physical yesterday. My Doc keeps lookin' for my expiration date. Hasn't found it yet, but he said, "I'm looking at a 75 year old man.....going on 55." Hey, that's good enough for me. I guess I'll always be looking for another adventure. Like maybe running naked through a car wash!! grin
_________________________
"You're never too old to learn something stupid."

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#28634 - 02/08/23 09:27 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
musher Online   content
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Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 2407
Loc: Qc.
"Like maybe running naked through a car wash!! grin"

If you get waxed, we don't want to hear about it. sick

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#28635 - 02/10/23 02:17 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 3046
Loc: WV
I detect "radio silence". So, I'm not sure how we should take it?

At minus 30*, naked and wet. I hope the carwash has hot water.

Thinking about your B&B, I've never stayed at one. Years ago when I was working away from home, I lived out of motels. Just thinking about it now, I'd get off work and lock myself into a little room. Maybe 12 x 20? I had a bathroom and TV, a bed or 2, maybe a chair and lamp. That's about it.

I guess it would be a lot nicer if you could get up and move around. Look out of more than one window. Working 4-10's, this time of year it's dark when you go to work and dark when you get off.

I did read about this lodge where Frank and his family went, I think they offer cabins. I'm sure they are expensive. Most of these lodges cater to the high dollar folks, stuff that the average working family can't afford. Or, you'll need to save up to go. That's sad in a way, but I understand that they're trying to make a living too.

One thing that I did notice in their pictures, they have 2-person sleds, where 2 people can stand up during their adventure. I've never taken a ride in a dog sled, but I can imagine, for a passenger riding in the basket, they are going to feel every little bump. And jiggle you to pieces.

It would be very similar to riding on a hay wagon, if you're standing up, you don't notice all of the little bumps and all. Sitting an top of 6 or 7 hay bales, you don't notice it. But riding an empty wagon, back to the field, sitting on your butt with your legs hanging over the side, you'll feel every bump, every time that the hitch catches, every pothole in the lane. If you're standing up, your legs take all of that, and your really don't notice it.

All of that brings back memories from years and years ago. Good times!

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#28638 - 02/15/23 04:25 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: redsnow]
FLSH ETR Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 1202
Loc: Cudahy, Wisconsin,USA
Talked to Becky the other day. She said the two people platform on their sled was just wide enough for the two people. But they could not just reach forward for the grab bar. They had to cross arms for stability. Fortunately, she is so much shorter than John that the arms crossed was manageable. And I don't know where I got this notion from, but all my life I pictured mushing involved a long bull whip. "YEAH", wht-chee (whip sound). Maybe from the movies? Comic books? Or maybe they really needed them due to picking up stray dogs and having to crack them on the ass to make them pull? (no methodical breeding like today) Don't know, but still a great picture in my head!
_________________________
"You're never too old to learn something stupid."

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#28639 - 02/15/23 07:25 PM Re: Mushin' [Re: FLSH ETR]
musher Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 2407
Loc: Qc.
Generally speaking, the carrot always works better than the stick. In real life, a sled dog would cower and roll on its back if whipped. However, I do see a whip being used to prevent/break up fights between dogs.

But good genetics work best of all!

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