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Sledding the day away

Brittany Austin hugs Caile, one of the senior dogs on the team.
While the weather wasn't too cold, a group hug by some of the participants warmed things up.

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

Studies about other places can lead to some interesting activities. Just ask some Carbon High School kids who have been studying Alaska and the traditions of the northland.

On Friday one of those traditions came to them as they rode a bus to Cat Canyon and took a short loop on Mounds Road in a dog sled.

More than 30 youngsters, teachers, aides and others came to find out what this mode of transportation was all about. And while the rides were short, most found that it wasn't what it is in the movies or on television.

"It's good to have people see that this isn't as simple as it looks," said Colby Shaw, of Westwind Kennels who were doing the demonstration for the students. "No matter whether you do this recreationally or do it professionally through racing or tourning, the problems are all the same."

The bus group found that you just don't get a sled and it goes. It takes a lot of preparation and rigging. Also, dogs, no matter how well trained or conditioned, don't always do what they are supposed to.

At first as the rides began the first team was more interested in the kids than they were in running. They stopped and got tangled up and a few of the students and teachers got first hand experience at how difficult it can be to have six or eight dogs wrapped up in ropes, and how tough it is to try to sort them all out. But as the rides continued, things got better as fresh dogs added life to the team and the loop the riders were taking got broken in.

Some of that participants also brought cross country skis and did a little recreation that way as well.

Students also got to spend some time with the dogs and coments like "I thought they would be a lot bigger," and "look how pretty these dogs are," could be heard continually as students kneeled down by the dogs and had a great time petting them.

All in all it was a good time; no one got spilled in the snow from the dog sleds and the students went away with a new appreciation for a traditional mode of travel used in many northern climates.




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