After a super fun day exploring ancient Pueblo ruins at Mesa Verde, woke early excited about my Day Two adventure – dog sledding! Another bucket list activity – check, done 🙂

Met up with 2 guides (‘Kentucky’ Chris & Sarah) from Durango Dog Ranch & 2 other day mushers from Sweden (Monica & Ida) at a local coffee house in Mancos – approx 35 minutes west of Durango on Highway 160.

Because of recent warm weather (past 2 days), drove deep into Mancos State Park in search of adequate snow for sledding.  Kentucky Chris who lives nearby in a yurt (whole lotta back-story here) gave us our safety/do/don’t speech & we started unloading dogs.  Sarah showed how to harness the friendlier dogs – lotta yapping, lotta fun.

 

What didn’t I know?  Alaskan huskies are mutts.  Each have a small percentage of Siberian husky in their bloodline (which makes them wanna pull) but then the remainder is greyhound or pointer generally – added for speed.

What else?  Siberian huskies don’t really love people.  Their temperament are more like cats.  They really don’t need us.  They’ll take food of course but not a fan of petting or human affection.  Today’s huskies with a higher Siberian mix were very standoff-ish, sported sky-blue eyes – and made the best sled dogs.

What about whips?  Yea, they thought I was crazy.  I guess that ended sometime around Jack London.   Now it’s all voice commands – HAW for left, GEE for right, YIP YIP for go & WHOA for stop.

Where do the humans go?  One stands on the back, one rides on an ice chest in the sled (where supplies generally go).

 

Yip, Yip & away we went.

These dogs LOVE to run.  Had to stop twice to avoid cattle guards (which can break the dogs’ legs) & with each stop, one of our lead dogs in particular kept jumping straight up & down – and barking wildly.  LOVE LOVE to run, can’t wait to start up again.

Took a turn as Musher for a short distance but I’d be fibbing if I told you I did any more than went for a ride.  The dogs knew to follow the groomed path ahead – I yelled HAW & GEE to keep us out of snow banks…that still counts, right? 🙂

Day ended with water, chow & hot dogs for the huskies – hot chocolate, hummus & crackers for us humans.

So was it worth the 7 hour drive?  YES, YES, YES.

 

WATCH my clip ‘Durango Dog Ranch’!

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