The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

DogSledding, part 1

My daughter had a group trip to Banff for dog sledding and other fun activities.  Would I chaperone?  Are you kidding?  I jumped at the chance.  First, I had never been to Banff.  Second, we are in a new country, where we have not yet developed close relationships and therefore not comfortable sending my daughter on a camping trip to the mountains.  Not comfortable because, third, we are not camping people.  So, this is how the weekend went.

Friday – we head off in our car to the designated shelter.  The Girl turns on the radio to a station I usually do not listen to, (I am a public radio kind of woman).  In a few minutes, we are jamming out to Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” like nobody’s business.  The radio stations eventually go away and we switch to my iPod.  The jamming continues, only now we are singing along with the Wicked Soundtrack, (she’s Glinda, I’m Elphaba).

Saturday – early wake up for breakfast and getting ourselves ready for dog sledding.  I can’t speak for any of the girls in the group, but I am totally psyched.  The morning is clear, crisp, and with the right gear, toasty warm.  Perfect.  The Howling Dog Company ( comes to pick us up and we are off to the site for some fun.  Our team was Dixie, Wyatt, Hailey, Pine, Gabby, Clyde and Maggie.  Great dogs.  Upon our arrival, they are jumping around and barking, begging to harnessed up for the run.  Our musher showed the girls how to harness the dogs and then allowed them to do one of the dogs. The Girl got Gabby all harnessed up, but to be honest, I think that Gabby could have probably done it herself and then harnessed a couple of kids along with her.  These are clearly well cared for, smart animals.  Along with Phil, our musher, they took us along trails in the mountains to a lake where we shared hot cocoa and cookies.  Who doesn’t love hot cocoa and cookies?  The scenery is breathtaking.  The weather is perfect for some singing and dancing on the ice, (really? yes, really), before heading back to our vans.  When we return from the dogsledding, my daughter starts in, begging for a dog. 

The afternoon is spent wandering the streets, attempting to complete a scavenger hunt.  This was a lot of fun with the girls, especially for a first-timer in Banff.  We learned about the city, the sights within it, and all talked about what to do the next time we visit. Great job to the group leader that put together the hunt.  And huge kudos to all those throughout the city that assisted us with our quest.

Sunday – after a brief stop at one of the candy shops in Banff, we head for home.  The car ride home was a bit quieter than the car ride to Banff, most likely due to the fact that the Girl had been up late (WAY past her bedtime) both nights and was tired.  I am so excited about the entire experience that I am planning a trip in my mind for our entire family.

All in all, a well-organized outing with a terrific group of girls and parent helpers.  She will say that I am just sucking up, but the leader and her organizational skills are amazing.  Everyone was well-prepared, due to her instructions and when we had hiccups, (which always happen with a large group), she involved the girls on how to solve the problem.

Clyde says, "let's gooooo!"


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