If you love dogs like I do, then you have to go dog sledding at Muddy Paw. Hands down, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
With not a cloud in the sky, I pulled up to the Kennel at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in Jefferson, NH. In the distance I heard a lonely howl of a sled dog and a smile immediately spread across my face. I couldn’t have timed my 3 hour tour better – blue bird day in January with temps in the 20’s. It was perfect.
Dressed in overall Carhartts, my musher Wes greeted me. As we
walked around the corner I saw the most beautiful view of the Presidential Mountains and over 100 sled dogs, eagerly waiting for me to give them kisses and hugs. And that is exactly what I got to do.
After meeting most of the dogs, it was time to set up our 8 dog sled team. “It’s kind of like setting up two friends on a blind date,” said Wes. “You set them up based on their strength, ability and personality.”
As part of the 2 and 3 hour tour at Muddy Paw, the guest gets to help set up the sled team. As soon as the sled was brought out, a sound like no other erupted from the dogs. To say they were excited is an understatement. Wes showed me how to harness one of the dogs on our team and then I got to harness a couple more on my own. As I walked by all the dogs looking for the ones I was to harness, the other dogs looked at me with eyes that said, “Pick me, Pick Me.” As I harnessed Ricky, one of the dogs on our team, and walked him through the other dogs to the sled, he stopped barking, held his head up high and went into work mode. It was an amazing site to witness.
Once the team was hooked up and I was ready to go in the sled, Wes said to me, “I’ll be right back. Just have to give the lead dogs a little pep talk.” Just like sports players before a big game, the lead dogs need a little boost of confidence before their run. As you can see in the picture, Wes gave them some pets of encouragement. And then we were good to go!
Wes explained that the sled would go about 15 mph from the start. He wasn’t joking when he told me to hang on. As soon as he told them to go, we were off!
Once we were on trail, the dogs got into a consistent gait and we cruised along at about 7-8 mph. With nothing but the Presidentials and furry behinds in front of me, I sat back and relaxed in the sled and learned as much as I could about dog sledding from Wes.
Once our tour was over, we petted each dog and told them what a great job they did and brought them back to their kennels. My tour might have officially been over but I didn’t want it to end. So I met the rest of the dogs, fell in love multiple times, said good bye a million times to each dog and almost left with all of them in my car.
But there was one dog in particular that I fell in love with, sweet Maggie. Her eye contact is what drew me into her and as I approached her, she sat and gave me her paw to say hi. And then immediately rolled over for a belly rub. I knew right away that Maggie was special. I spent a lot of time with her and didn’t want to say goodbye. But that’s the thing – each dog at Muddy Paw is special. Everyone of those dogs (well except for a few who aren’t too sure about humans) greeted me with open paws and as a dog lover it made my heart full.
And did you know that almost all of the dogs at Muddy Paw are rescue dogs and that some are up for adoption? If I didn’t have two rescues of my own already, I would take them all home. 🙂
Do me a favor, while winter is still hanging around, book a tour today at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel. Trust me, you will have the time of your life.
Until my next NH Grand Adventure …