3.04.2009

Fort Kent Dog Sledding

The Globe's Article on the Can-Am Sled-Dog Race in Fort Kent, ME

As some of you know, I grew up in this sport. Though we never competed in racing our dogs, we loved nothing more than running trails with our team. We grew up in the sledding circle and knew people who, like us, just ran trails, but also had several close friends who raced in all the big races, including the Iditarod.

This sport isn't just about riding on the back of a sled - I clearly remember being a child, running behind the dogsled, as 8 dogs were running ahead. My little legs were moving as fast as they could uphill, through deep drifts of snow, and weighted down with heavy boots and a snowsuit. It's as physically demanding on the human as it is for the dogs, and there's nothing quite like it.

There are many sports where humans and dogs work together towards a common goal, but sledding is different. Frisbee, Search and Rescue, Agility and Freestyle are events where it's human and dog. One human, one dog. Dog sledding is the only event, that I can think of, where it's a person and a pack of dogs, all competing against time, other teams, and the harsh winter elements of the northern landscape.

It's a fascinating experience, and I implore those who love dogs or the outdoors to go to New Hampshire, Maine or Vermont, and do the equivalent of a dogsled trail ride. Don't forget your camera. It's an experience you'll never forget.