The UK newspaper the Guardian has named an Alberta holiday as one of the Top Ten Holiday Hotspots for 2014. Considering the photo below showing our weekend activity the word ‘hot’ should not be taken in the literal sense.
Our adventure with Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours would be yet another item ticked off the bucket list compliments of a lovely Christmas gift from my Mom-in-law who joined us on this amazing winter activity.
The company has been running dog sled tours for over a quarter of a century in the Bow Valley out of it’s office in Canmore. Priding themselves on the humane and loving care the over 150 dogs are given year round, one just has to watch the guides for mere minutes to know this is not just about business. How it is possible to know a hundred plus dogs by name and which are older, younger, shy or noisy… it is clear they are family.
According to the Snowy Owl web site, archaeological evidence suggests that in the Arctic regions dogs and humans have had working relationships for over 4000 years. Canadian Inuit and First Nation peoples were foremost in utilizing huskies in their day to day existence. In comparison the Spanish horse, which became a western icon (Don’t forget that Calgary Stampede) arrived a mere 400 years ago.
Alberta Holiday Thrills Winter Adventurers
At Snowy Owl the experience can be as hands on as you like. After 30 minutes of learning the dog commands and the number one rule…that you NEVER, ever let go of the sled (conjures up visions of being dragged to the North Pole), you and your team, with a guide and his sled ahead, are off.
Riding along the frozen lake one could imagine famous Arctic and Antarctic explorers such as Ronald Amundsen, Robert Peary and Richard Byrd behind such canine teams discovering new polar lands. Such notoriety of the explorers also brought attention to the Husky breed of dog and their ability to withstand the snow and extreme cold. I will testify as the icicles formed on my eyelashes the dogs remained unfazed by the blizzard like conditions. Definitely a thrilling adventure for an Alberta holiday goer.
Part way through the experience I joined Hubby on the back of the sled and we drove the team together. Does it not look like he is trying to elbow me off?
During any uphill section the drivers of the sled are to run behind the sled while holding on to assist the dogs. The pups will actually glance back at you if you are not doing your share as if to say ‘Get with it you lazy oafs!’
At the end of the run the dogs get well deserved pats, warm water, food and treats. Below our lead dog Chaos with his beautiful blue and brown eyes. A bit camera shy Hubby helped him pose for the camera.
Would you be willing to try dog sledding? Will it be on your bucket list?
For more great things to do when you come to visit our ‘Hotspot’ click on Alberta-Not Just Another Pretty Face.
Photo credit – photos 1 and 7-Snowy Owl Dog Tours