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341) Go dog sledding 5 Jan 2013

On the advice of a good friend, we made the 3+ hour drive north to Chocpaw Expeditions for our dog-sledding to-do. These guys have been operating in Algonquin Park for over 35 years; they’ve got serious street cred.

At Chocpaw they teach you the basics of operating a dog sled, rather than just throwing you on for a fun, leisure ride like they do at some outfitters. After an hour-long tutorial, you’re expected to know how to operate a traditional dog sled, how to steer and break, how to gear up your team of dogs, how to harness them accordingly, and how to give them proper commands: Ha! to turn left, G! to turn right, and Woah, Woah, to slow down (this last command works well if you say it in your best James Earl Jones voice).

Chocpaw has exactly 365 different dogs in their operation (kind of ironic, I know) – all fierce, fast, playful mutts that just want to run like the wind. We had a spunky bunch, which made our trek both entertaining and physically challenging.

There was Pepper and Suzuki in the back (the ‘wheel dogs’ and the muscle of the group), Java and Face on point, and Hazel and Moose (the brains) in the front – these two spent most of the time trying to hump each another.

Overall the trip ran a brisk 4.5 hours in length, with a short lunch break of sandwiches and lentil soup. By the end of it all, we were ready to sign-up for an overnight trip – it was that awesome. If you’re into snow, big dogs, and adventure, we definitely recommend getting on a dog sled and experiencing the quiet beauty of Algonquin Park.