Doodle's Girl Scout troop went on a long-anticipated dogsledding excursion in Western Maryland last weekend and the rest of us tagged along. Doodle earned the mushing badge, Tootle got the mushing Brownie try-it, and we all had a blast. We headed out on Saturday afternoon and met up with everyone else at a hotel with an indoor pool. The dozen or so girls swam for hours and then played board games before crashing around 11. We spent 4 hours at the dog sled operation Sunday morning. In addition to getting to ride on an ATV pulled by a team of 10 dogs (it was warm so the owners used an ATV so they could give the dogs a little gas-powered help going uphill) and getting to lavish attention on 20 beautiful dogs, we learned a few things:
- The most amazing thing about dogsledding is how loud and wired the dogs are right before they start a run and how eerily silent they are once they are underway and working together as a team.
- The musher doesn't say "mush" as shown in movies and TV to get the dogs moving. He or she says "hike." We learned other commands like "on the run" which means that the dog shouldn't stop to urinate or defecate but should do it while moving.
- There are dogsledding clubs in Maryland and Pennsylvania and sprint races in both states. We may need to check them out.