Dog Sledding has been an integral part of Gunflint Lake and the Gunflint Lodge area for a long time. We are proud to help keep such memorable experiences alive today. Justine Kerfoot, former owner of Gunflint Lodge, ran teams of sled dogs for travel, work, and eventually with guests and tourists.
Today, Sled Dog tours remain a popular activity at Gunflint Lodge. We wonder who enjoys the rides more, the sled dogs or the guests.
Sled Dogs wake up each morning enthused about the day ahead. Excited barking can be heard from a distance as the mushers arrive with breakfast for the dogs. A post-breakfast resting period is required to prevent tummy aches while running later on.
Guests prepare for their Dog Sled experience by listening to ‘Tails from the Trails’ told by a dog handler in our warming tent. Stories and local dog sled history paired with hot beverages are just the beginning of the experience. At the starting point of the Dog Sled tour, guests climb into the sled, zip themselves up, and watch as the mushers harness up the excited dogs and attach them to the gangline.
The excitement in the air is palpable as the sled dogs go wild with energy, ready to run as soon as they feel the harnesses pulled onto their bodies. Guest passengers smile from ear-to-ear watching the dogs’ excitement. The scene is clamorous. Dogs barking, jumping, and ready to get going. Guests chattering about the upcoming ride. Mushers talking to the dogs in full sentences as if they were human companions.
“Ready, Let’s go!” Everything goes quiet. At the command of the mushers, the dogs take off along the forest trail set before them. They are quiet now, as they exert their energy in pulling the sled through the gorgeous boreal forest around them. Wintertime in the forest is serene; the snow seems to act as a sound buffer. The passengers can hear the sled glide over the snow beneath them, the patting of dog feet along the trail, and the musher giving commands to dogs along the way. “Haw!” the musher will yell. Commanding the dogs to make a left turn.
Frosted tree tops and evergreen branches holding up thin layers of snow seem to breeze by as the dogs and sled glide down the hills. Nestled into the sled, it is normal for passengers to ponder the history of Dog Sledding. To try and put themselves into the shoes of the pioneers, like Justine Kerfoot. It is normal to feel connected to the dogs, to nature, and to an excitement that has drawn dog sled mushers to the profession for such a long time.
We welcome you to join us for our next Dog Sled Adventure here at Gunflint Lodge, on the edge of the Boundary Waters.