SMW Immersion Travel: Learn How to Mush!
By Sheryl Kayne
When I was planning an outdoor adventure travel trip that required driving from Weston, Connecticut to Denali National Park, Alaska, my mother Ruthie asked me, “Isn’t there someone who’d like to go with you?” No, there wasn’t anyone else I knew who wanted to drive over 4,000 miles in 10 days in a Toyota Corolla, but I sure loved every minute of it.
Sometimes I’m a bit more adventurous than my friends and family, so I plan what I want to do and just do it. I particularly love to get up and go during these busy winter holiday months. It’s a nice balance to get away even for a long weekend’s breath of fresh air.
Last December I rented a cabin in Parker Dam State Park, Pennsylvania for a week for only $225. I loved having a whole beautiful park for my playground, but all of my friends, including my own children, thought I was kinda nuts to stay in a cabin without a bathroom or running water. It was terrific.
This year, a change has come over me. I’m yearning to take an all girls long weekend break. I admit, I’ve never done this before, but when I heard about Wintermoon Summersun Adventures in Brimson, Minnesota, I made it my goal to recruit three girlfriends and my two daughters and see if we could all agree on one weekend, not a small feat, where we would get together, have fun, and learn how to mush.
“I went on a weekend’s dogsledding adventure and fell in love with the dogs, the outdoors, and bonding with the women,” says sled dog breeder and trainer Kathleen Anderson. “That was 20 years ago and I was 37 and aware that I had slowly been changing my life, but I had no intention of owning 37 dogs and running trips for women!
“I think it’s important to try some activities that take us out of our comfort zone. I know I wasn’t encouraged to participate in sports growing up, but I really enjoy and benefit from physical activity that enables me to push myself and take risks in a safe and supported way,” continues Anderson. “When women take risks, the experience transfers into other parts of their lives.”
The 37 Alaskan huskies are part of a team working together and they respond to verbal commands, which I can’t say about many of the people I know. As you can imagine, guests develop an immediate bond and rapport with the dogs. It’s really neat to connect with another species and have that respect and total involvement with each other. Part of the experience at Wintermoon Summersun is learning how to mush but everyone also helps with the care of the dog team: watering, feeding, hooking the dogs up to the gangline, and driving the sled.
All guests stay in the home Anderson built herself, totally off the grid with solar power, wood heat, an organic garden, and a Finnish sauna for bathing. I thought the hardest part would be finding a weekend to fit everyone’s schedules and coordinating flights, arrivals and departures. I was surprised when my first girlfriend I invited said no, the trip didn’t appeal to her. My daughter lifted my spirits by responding to the invitation, “Way to go Mom! This sounds great!” I believe sharing this environment and the joy of mushing with my daughters and friends will be a fantastic winter weekend getaway and an experience none of us will ever forget.
Wintermoon Summersun Adventures
3388 Petrell Rd., Brimson, MN 55602;
Dogsledding 2 to 5 days, $175–$450 per person; includes all meals
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