I look out my window to see the snow softly falling to the ground. I reflect on how looking out this window, with a warm cup of tea and a roaring fire and knowing my little ones' tired bodies are snugly tucked into bed, would be a wonderful scene one holiday season.
And I think about what a unique, amazing day we had today out in the wilderness. My husband, who is always looking for that off-the-beaten path activity or place, suggested going mushing, or dog sledding, on this vacation. We checked out the forecast and the weather looked good enough that complaints of the cold from the children would be minimal. It was a go.
My children have a natural soft spot for dogs (and all animals, honestly). So, having 24 happy, friendly Alaskan huskies as greeters this morning brought smiles to all our faces. Nicholas had barely reached the sled teams when he declared that he had a favorite - Zodiac. Jaelyn plopped herself down in front of a small, well-tempered gal named Portia, and they became good friends. Astrin and I said hello to as many of the dogs that we could before hopping into a sled, and I discovered that some dogs preferred to be the centre of attention. And who can resist a lovable gentleman who wears his heart on his paw?
Each sled was pulled by a team of 6 dogs. That's 6 dogs that are likely around 60 pounds each pulling a sled that weighs more than 300 pounds! Amazing! They took us down the Great Divide trail at Lake Louise, right to the continental divide that also serves as the border between Alberta and British Columbia, then back. They also pulled us through the forest for a little stretch, which was so quiet. Nicholas and Jaelyn both had an opportunity to stand on the runners at the back of the sleds and be mushers, as well as feeding the dogs their treats when we returned to the start of the loop.
And what did we learn? A bit about geography, a bit about the wild animals that live in the park, a bit about mushing races. We also took home the affirmation that one can do what they love at any age, like how the mushers devoting their life energy to taking care of their dogs, while enjoying the great outdoors and some wonderful human and animal companionship. We took home an appreciation for the amazing nature of animals. We took home chilly toes and fingers, but warm hearts and smiling faces.