Out On the Trails

DOG SLEDLYNDON-You probably don’t associate dog sledding with the Northeast Kingdom however one local company has been providing guided dog sled tours for years now.

 Josh Haskett owns Vermont Ventures LLC and has been running dog sleds for the past five years and has provided guided dog sled tours for the past two.

Haskett and his team of nine pure bread huskies pull riders on a homemade touring sled where passengers get an unspoiled view of the Vermont wilderness which for Haskett is part of the appeal “Some people like snow machining and that’s all and good but its nice and quiet with the dogs and there are no motors running in your ears.”

Haskett runs of several trails in Lyndon as well as one in Montgomery and he’d love to see more people out on the trails “Get your kids out there this is a lost sport that’s really enjoyable and the kids love it and it would be exciting to get some more people out there to try it out for themselves… Its an experience that many people don’t get to experience so its nice to show people what its like.”

Haskett’s dogs are all pure breed huskies compared with hybrid dogs, which have a little more speed and are used for racing. While Haskett doesn’t race his dogs there are others that do race. A week and a half ago Colebrook New Hampshire hosted one part of a three-staged dog sled race, the Great North Woods Dog Sled Race. Mushers travel all over the United States and Canada for these races.  Marla Brodsky is from western Massachusetts “I started my season in the Upper Peninsula[ of Michigan] with  the Tahquamenon 30 then I was at the IFSS world championship in Haliburton Canada then we did the Can-Am 100 last week”

Brodsky’s favorite park of mushing is being outside with the dogs “being pulled by dog power with the elements and nature, its pretty much the ultimate being on the moment.”

While it varies from Musher to Musher some will race up to a dozen times a year, including races that don’t take place on snow. When the dogs aren’t racing its important train them “The more you train them like any athlete the happier they’ll be in a race because they won’t get hurt. I do sled dog camps in the summer and we take them swimming. I have this thing called swim joring where they pull us across the river and back.”

While Brodsky’s dogs keep busy during the summer they love the cold weather “they like it cold, I don’t think they care for the wind. They could take or leave that.”

Once the weather gets too warm Haskett’s dogs stay primarily in underground kennels to keep cool.