Are you ready to do some Mushing?
Snow flies in your face as your newly found furry friends pull you across high mountains, through deep valleys, ancient forests and by meandering rivers. You feel the cold, dry air fill your lungs, but this won't stop you. You're facing Mother Nature head-on -with the help of a trusty guide, of course.
Through the ages, man has called dog his best friend. He has also called him a protector, helper, lifesaver, and provider. Dogs have been there through the years, through any task and any challenge, this is perhaps truer in the arctic regions than anywhere else in the world. Padded paws and thick fur made them suitable to thrive in the cold and snowy parts of the world, and this is why these dogs had a huge hand (or paw) in shaping life in the far north.
Don't leave me hanging! Photo by Staffan Widstrand
The indigenous groups of Siberian Russia and Alaska depended on sled dogs for help with hauling, herding, and hunting. Recent studies show that 9 000 years ago, the domestic dog was present in Arctic north-eastern Siberia. And in North America, dogs and harnesses were used by the native and Inuit people in the northern parts of modern Canada long before European contact. It did not take long before European settlers recognized the value and power of using dogs and sleds, and they quickly began incorporating sled dogs into their daily lives.
During the Klondike gold rush of 1896 thousands of Americans, Canadians and Europeans streamed into the far north-western Canada in their search of gold. These men quickly came to realize the necessity of having a strong dog team. Many chose to bring some of their furry companions back home upon their return to their respective countries.
For the first explorers of the Arctic and Antarctic polar regions such as Richard Byrd, Robert Peary, Ronald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, the use of Sled dogs was especially appealing, and in most of the expeditions, it was the essential key to success.
Designed for life in the Arctic. Photo by Staffan Widstrand
Today dog sleds are used mainly for recreational purposes and racing, the heavy workload of hauling equipment and necessities to remote areas in the Arctic has been handed over to modern vehicles like snowmobiles and snowcats. And sure, modern types of snow vehicles can offer a faster and sometimes a more convenient transportation over the snowy expanses, but the sled dogs still reign supreme over them in many situations. For example, while traveling with a dog sled, you leave a minimal impact on the environment and can enjoy the wilderness and wildlife without being disturbed by engine noises and fumes. Even more, sled dogs have been proven sturdier and more reliable in tougher conditions than snowmobiles, they can see farther than a human can, they can sense open waters or weak ice, and provide warmth and protection during the night by scaring away predators. It's easy to see why dog sledding still is a popular mean of transportation in the arctic regions.
“Mushing," is a term that originated from the French word "Marche!", meaning "go" or "run," used by the French-Canadians "Marche!" became "Mush!" for English Canadians and a person who travels by dog sled became a “musher." Are you ready to do some mushing? Be sure to check out the following Nature’s Best approved mushing experiences, ranging from beginners runs to more hard-core multi-day expeditions into the vast wilderness of Sweden. Book your tour today! Winter is coming!