Hello, friends! While M. Cheesemonger and I are traveling again this week (check my Instagram story for an idea of what we’re up to!), I wanted to share with you one more remarkable experience we had—dogsledding. Maybe because I’m a major dog lover, and because being outdoors makes my soul sing, this was the perfect way to take in the sights of the Yukon. Actually, we booked this trip almost primarily for this chance to run through the snow with a group of dogs; it was the first thing I reserved after our plane tickets!
In any case, the company recommended to me by my local friends was Into the Wild Adventures, owned by Marine Gastard. An ex-pat from Normandy (like M. Cheesemonger!), a number of years ago she felt the call of the wild, and has since taken on the life of a Yukon musher. Marine skillfully guided us through the process and the field. When she’s not watching after clumsy noobs like us, she races with her incredibly sleek, strong, and friendly dogs. :)
I was terrified and excited in the time leading up to our dogsledding day! Marine picked us up before 9am, well before the 10:35am sunrise. When we arrived on site, the rental winter clothing we had was swapped out for even warmer clothing that was at least twice as thick. Two Great Pyrenees dogs loped around us as we walked up to Marine’s tiny house, which she shares with her family and a few dogs. Marine’s partner Matthieu had laid out sandwich-making ingredients that we could pack for the day, and even prepared a pear quatre-quarts cake for afterward. We hooked up the dogs to the sled, and we were ready to go. I didn’t bring my camera because I knew it would freeze while sitting in my backpack; I did bring a GoPro, which captured 12 minutes of footage before freezing in the -30°F weather!
I loved watching Marine work with her dogs. She seems to be a woman of few words, except when it comes to her pups! She calls them all (44 dogs when I last asked her) by name, and can tell you each of their stories. They were so excited to be harnessed and called on to pull the sleds. Because we had never sledded before, Marine gave us a quick lesson, which was essentially about the brakes, and when to use them. Other than that, her most sage advice was, “If you fall, don’t let go of the sled because the dogs will keep running without you. The dogs do not look after you.” It’s tough to chase after a group of sled dogs, especially when wearing all that winter gear! I fell 3 times during our run, and managed to hang on twice. Hooray!
In any case, those five hours of riding, ducking, weaving, balancing, and sprinting behind my team of dogs were among the best of my life! The sun was out, the sky was clear, the landscape was breathtaking, we were bundled up against the cold, and M. Cheesemonger and I were happy. We rode onto Fish Lake, one of my favorite spots near Whitehorse, and on a variety of trails all around.
If you find yourself in the Yukon, and would like to go dogsledding, I highly recommend Marine! She and her husband are the real deal—they take great care to make sure their dogs are happy and healthy. They are passionate about their lives and their work.
See the little video I made of our day! All the photos from the dogsledding day were taken by Marine, and are part of her normal business practice, so her clients can look back on their dogsledding experience. I went back and took some more to share with you!
Into the Wild Adventures
195 Fish Lake Road
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 0K1
+1 (867) 336-0121