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Dog Sledding in Vermont, You Betcha!

December 27, 2009

By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, Mark Lee

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Rob Farley loves dogs, more specifically, he loves Siberian Huskies. Together, they love to sled; dog sledding that is!

Rob is the owner of "October Siberians Sled Dog Adventures" and I`m guessing you think they are located in Alaska right? Well, you might be surprised to learn they`re much closer, in Vermont! In 1989 Rob quit his job and moved from the hectic New York City lifestyle to a tranquil setting in the Vermont back country. He also has a love for Siberian huskies and that`s how it all started.

"It`s the little seeds that get planted when you`re young. In the 1980s I was watching the Iditarod on TV and I just thought it was cool."

Today, Rob has 10 to 15 Siberian Huskies at his kennel ranging in age from less than a year to 15 years old. And just like Rob, these dogs go wild for the snow.

"The dogs love it! They are born to run. They start getting excited in early August when the weather starts to cool off. You`ll hear them howling in the morning."

What makes these Huskies so good at dog sledding is their ability to pull heavy weight. Incredibly, one dog team is capable of pulling 500 pounds for a distance of up to 500 miles.

"It`s a tough business when you have to depend on the weather" says Rob. While a bad winter to many means a lot of snow, to Rob, it`s just the opposite, no snow at all.

Most people think dog sledding is nothing but racing, but Rob will tell you there`s much more to it. His trips are designed to be educational and interactive and his favorite trip is the Little River State Park Tour in Waterbury, Vermont.

"This is a tour of a former homestead community last occupied about 100 years ago. This journey takes you past rock walls, old foundations, cemeteries, orchard and beautiful vistas which foster images of days gone by."

Rob offers dog sledding trips in the Vermont back country for people who want to give it a try.

And of course, there is always the possibility of wildlife encounters on a trip. You might run into a deer, a moose, a fox, or birds, but as Rob will tell you, hopefully, no porcupines!

"I was on a 27 mile run with a seven dog team. About half way through, we ran across a porcupine on the trail. I put the drag down to try and stop the dogs but they kept going and the front dogs got quilled up pretty bad. I got off my sled to attend to them and then the back dogs attacked and they got pretty messed up too."

So if you`re looking for something a little different to do when the snow flies and the temperatures drop, consider heading to Vermont and give dog sledding a try. You may be mushing in the Iditarod before you know it! Just remember one thing:

"You never let go of your sled. The dogs` desire to run is so strong. "If you let go, all the dogs know, is hey, the sled is much lighter, now we can run even faster." You`ll have a long walk back!

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