Friday, October 31, 2008

Cedarbrook Academy: A Day of Dog Sledding and Sled Dogs.

"Look into my eyes," says Siberian Husky, Sobo.

This past Tuesday, Eric and I along with the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC team of Zoe, T-Bone, Sobo, Okemo, and Acadia visited the home schooling families and children of Cedarbrook Academy in Clarksburg, Maryland outside of Damascus, Maryland to discuss dog sledding, dryland (wheeled) dog sledding, and sled dogs.

Two separate assemblies and dog sledding demonstrations were held. During the assemblies, the kids learned all about dog sledding and dryland dog sledding including, the positions on a sled dog team, the parts of a dog sled, all about dog sledding harnesses, how to harness a sled dog, and how to put booties on a sled dog.

Learning all about dog sledding and dryland (wheeled) dog sledding

Learning all about the dog sled

This girl helped harness lead dog, Zoe.

These lead "dogs" practiced lining out

Learning about the positions on a dog team.

An eight "dog" team, from wheel dogs to lead dogs

After the dog sledding assemblies, the kids went outside to view a short demonstration of the sled dogs pulling a dog sled on wheels (called a "rig" or "gig"). After the dog sledding demonstrations, the kids got to meet and greet the sled dogs. The kids especially enjoyed meeting the sled dogs.

"Is that a hot dog I see?" thinks wheel dog, Okemo.

"Now if you could just scratch a little lower and to the left," says lead dog, Zoe.

Sled dog in training, Acadia, greets the kids

Wheel dog, Okemo, and lead dog, Sobo, get to meet the kids

Sobo and Okemo enjoy the attention from the kids

If you are a teacher or school administrator interested in having Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC come to your school, please visit the Tours page of our website for more information on our Classroom Programs on Dog Sledding.

For smaller groups of home schoolers (8-10 children), Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC offers our comprehensive dog sledding program including dog sled rides on the Northern Central Rail ("NCR") trail in Northern Baltimore County. Visit the Educational Programs on Dog Sledding section on our website for additional information. To hear what folks are saying about our programs, check out our Bark Backs. For more information on any of our programs, email

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sled Dogs....Oh My!

Hanging out with sled dog, Okemo.

The Cub Scouts of Pack 719, Den 4 along with several Girl Scouts came out to the Northern Central Rail Trail in White Hall, Maryland this past Saturday to visit the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures team and work on their dog sledding badge. As you can see, a good time was had by all.

Sled puppy, Acadia and Sobo wrestle before the dog sledding program

During the dog sledding program, the scouts learned all about dog sledding including how to harness the dogs, how to put booties on the dogs, the commands used in dog sledding (and how to "gee over" on the trail to avoid trail traffic), what sled dogs eat, and how sled dogs are trained.

After learning all about dog sledding, the scouts were hungry and got to enjoy brownies and hot cocoa.

Brownies and Hot Cocoa. Yum!

After brownies and hot cocoa, the kids learned about the 1925 Great Alaska Serum Run from Nenana, Alaska to Nome, Alaska. For more information on the Serum Run, click here.

"I've got the serum and I'm heading for Nome," thinks this cub scout

And then it was out for the scouts' dryland dog sled ride. Each scout took a short ride with the entire Maryland Sled Dog Adventures team of sled dogs while relaying the medicine to save the children of Nome. During the rides, Zoe and Sobo ran in lead while Okemo and T-Bone ran in wheel. Meanwhile, sled puppy, Acadia, took a nap in the dog truck.

Setting off on his dryland dog sled ride

Riding down the trail

Returning to the trail head, the scouts helped to feed and water the dogs while learning that sled dogs can burn more than 16,000 calories per day. They also learned that breakfast is Okemo's favorite part of the day.

Hungry Okemo receives a hug.

T-Bone receives some pets from this cub scout

Then it was time for the dog sledding patch presentation. As each scout received his or her dog sledding badge, he or she told us what to he or she had learned during the dog sledding program. Best Answer: Bryan learned that you should always wear safety gear (helmet and safety glasses) when dog sledding. We're sure young Bryan has a great career ahead of him at OSHA.

A cub scout receives his dog sledding patch

"Can we keep her?"

Cub Scout Pack 719, Den 4

For more information on Maryland Sled Dog Adventures' patch programs in dog sledding for cub scouts and girl scouts, visit the Tours page of our website. To see additional photos from this scout program and others visit our Gallery. And for even more great photos, visit our Webshots Gallery.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sled Dogs Meet Girl Scouts; Girl Scouts Meet Sled Dogs

These girl scouts got to feed sled puppy, Acadia.

The first Girl Scout troops of the dog sledding season came out to work on their dog sledding badge with the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures team this past weekend. To earn their dog sledding patch, the girl scouts learned how to harness the dogs, learned about the positions on a dog sled team, the commands used in dog sledding, how put booties on the dogs, learned all about dog sledding equipment, and got to go for a dog sled ride with the entire team.

It was a misty morning when these scouts from Falls Church, Virginia arrived in Maryland to learn about dog sledding

During these programs, we met Brownie Girl Scouts from Mt. Airy, Maryland and Brownie, Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts from Falls Church, Virginia. All of the troops are part of Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capital. Maryland Sled Dog Adventures is pleased to be an approved high adventure vendor with Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capital. For more information on the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures dog sledding patch program for girl scouts and boy scouts, visit the tours page of our website.

"Had to put me next to Okemo, didn't you?" thinks T-Bone

The scouts learned all about dog sledding equipment

"So many girl scouts, so little time," thinks sled dog, Zoe

"Is red my color?" thinks sled puppy, Acadia.

"So how do I look?" asks this girl scout.

Each girl scout got to go for a dryland dog sled ride.

I'm ready to go...

Dryland dog sled rides are fun!

Meet and greet with the sled dogs.

These Brownie Girl Scouts practiced being "lead dogs."

The sled dogs are coming!

The newest girl scout uniform accessory, an x-back harness!

This Brownie Girl Scout pets lead dog, Zoe.

"She'll be coming around the mountain when she comes..."

"Pet me, I'm pretty," says sled dog, Sobo.

If only the kids were as tired as the dogs...

To see additional photos from these dog sledding programs along with past girl scout and boy scout dog sledding programs visit our Gallery. The girls seemed to enjoy meeting and working with the dogs and the dogs really enjoyed meeting the girls.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Michigan beats Wisconsin and Other Minor Miracles

To summarize unprecedented recent events:

1. Washington Mutual failed, in the largest bank failure ever

2. Michigan beat Wisconsin in college football

3. Sobo had a great dryland dog sled run

Sobo and Acadia hang out on the picket line

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It's a time to begin training the dogs, get back out and begin running dog sledding tours, rides and programs, crisp cool nights, stunning fall colors, and....College Football. Much like my sister, Jenny, I love college football, especially Michigan football. As many of you know, I have two undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the University of Washington (for the record, I usually root against the Washington Huskies, however, given their pitiful performance in recent years, I almost feel obligated to root for them). With the recent coaching changes, losses to Utah and Notre Dame, and a Michigan offense that is causing Bo Schembechler to roll over in his grave, I've frequently been disappointed in Michigan this season.

If fall is one of my favorite seasons, it's also a favorite season for our sled dogs. The last day of summer and first days of fall come none to quickly for the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures team of sled dogs. As they not so patiently awaited the cooler days of fall to arrive, all of the dogs were struck by a severe case of the "zoomies." One of the surest cures for the "zoomies" is a nice dryland dog sled run. Lucky, dogs, a Yappy Hour dog sled ride was scheduled. As we cruised down the trail through the brisk fall air, I could almost hear the dogs singing, in the words of Bruce Springsteen, "Baby, we were born to run..."

Born to Run

And run they did. In lead, we had the ever dependable and very hard working, Zoe (aka Zoedel, Zoey-Bug, Noodle-Bug, and Princess Zoina). Zoe is my "Brown Eyed Girl." Proven in harness, Zoe is the dog I go to when the game is on the line. She never fumbles the ball and much like the great Michigan running back (now in the pros), Michael Hart, she is the heart and soul of our dog team.

In lead next to Zoe, we had Sobo. Ah, what to say about Sobo? Sobo has all of the tools and a great build for a sled dog but his head is not always in the game, shall we say. Much like Michigan managed to lose to Appalachian State last season with all of the tools on board to beat them and a prediction to win by three touch downs, Sobo frequently manages to either just squeeze by or manages to, as I like to say in reference to Michigan football, "prong it in" late in the game. During today's Yappy Hour dog sled ride, Sobo actually surprised me. I couldn't have been more surprised had Michigan beat Wisconsin. Oh wait, Michigan did beat the then undefeated Wisconsin Badgers this past weekend after "pronging it in" to an underwhelming Notre Dame team the week before. In fact, Sobo has been surprising me on all of our runs early this fall. He's working much harder than he has worked in past seasons and really seems to be developing some drive to go along with his legs which go for miles.

Sobo says: "Pet me, I'm pretty"

Sobo peers through the fence

In wheel, behind our lead dogs, we had the teenie tiny terror (aka T-Bone) who is, despite the odds and not having a physical structure that particularly favors dog sledding, one of my hardest working dogs. Indeed, T-Bone gets so excited as he goes down the trail that he yips and squeeks. In his yips and squeeks, I think I may have heard him humming along to "I'm a hard workin' man" by Brooks and Dunn.

Next to T-Bone in wheel, we had the Big White Dog (aka Okemo, Okimer, the Big White Polar Bear). Okemo is large and in charge. We frequently refer to him as a "moose" due to his large size and power. As we traveled down the trail, Okemo sang along to Bob Seger's "Like a Rock, I was Strong as I could Be..." Okemo, much like the nose tackle on a football team, is our fastest sled dog....when he's eating. The rest of the time, Okemo is my fullback; the power dog; the one I count on to get us the first down in short yardage situations. He'll carry the other dogs on his back, if he has to.

Okemo gets harnessed

Along for the Yappy Hour dog sled program but not on the run, we had "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" four month old, Siberian Husky puppy, Acadia. Acadia is our new recruit. We're excited about Acadia's prospects in harness and her lead dog potential. We expect that pretty soon she may be quarterbacking this team to victory.


The view from behind