So, I guess it has been a really long time since I last posted anything and maybe I should fill you in on what I have been doing all this time.
In September last year we started awesome Jobs at Kingmik Dog Sled Tours. For three months we went to ‘Mushing School’ learning how to become, yup you guessed it… Mushers.
This time involved us volunteering at the summer kennels new Kamloops during the fall training. Usually this time is training for the dogs however it also became the training for us. We were learning everything we needed to know to become excellent dog sled guides.
Come December and winter upon us we shifted everything up into the trucks and away we moved to our winter kennels. Based in the woods on the edge of Yoho National Park we set up and settled into our new homes for the next 6 months. Chancellor Peak Chalets.
What a place to spend winter, beautiful log cabins nestled into the edge of the great Canadian Rockies. With our kennels set up on private property across the road. It truly is a beautiful spot.
One of the most memorable moments of all of winter came from what could have been a very boring day. Most of us were out in the spring in the dog yard trying to deal with the melt… This involves taking the snow and water out of the dog areas so that they can dry quickly and not become mud play ponds. It is seemingly pointless work, moving water which is just continuously melting back in. So, all this aside, we were 5 out there and had done a few hours of shovelling the snow and decided it was time for a break and well done beer in the warming sunshine.
So beer in hand, sitting on some dog houses and resting on our shovels we started to hear a distant rumbling and crashing. We all looked into the direction it came from, the ridge running along the area. We saw the snow dust of the end of an avalanche. We were all stoked to have seen and heard just that one but about 30 seconds later there was another. We were looking in the right direction this time and saw the whole thing unfold before our eyes. A few minutes later another, then another. This went on for about an hour. The first avalanche had triggered a chain reaction and we sat an watched this incredible feat of nature doing what it does best… Jaw drop and inspire us! The rest of the afternoon we were all on such a high, the rest of the afternoon was fun and cheery.
Well, now we have a place to live and all the knowledge we need to start proper working as dog sled guides. Kingmik Dogsled Tours run out of Lake Louise in Banff National Park Alberta. A good 40-50 min drive from our kennels, on a good day.
Our trail is part of the old Trans-Canada-Highway. We go about 5 miles (8km) down the old road. Starting out in Alberta going to ‘the Great Divide’. Where we cross over into British Colombia, stop for a bit to enjoy the area then head back to home base.
The divide is actually a pretty geologically awesome spot, now only is it the divide between the provinces of BC and Alberta. It is also the divide go the watershed. This is one of the places where the Atlantic ocean and the Pacific ocean’s water splits. This divide runs the whole way along the rockies from Alaska through to Mexico. The water running off to the east goes to the Atlantic Ocean and the water running off to the west goes to the Pacific ocean.
We run these tours 3 times a day with usually 8 dogs on each run. Each guide gets a team of dogs to look after for the winter who become their responsibility. These teams usually consist of 15-16 dogs so when we run the tours the dogs can alternate and don’t have to run every tour every day. It is great fun having the dogs for the winter, you grow strong bonds with them and watch their personalities develop through out the season. It is especially fun seeing what they are all capable of, they truly are amazing.
Not only are we working with these guys all day almost every day we still spend lots of time with them while we are not at work. This is one of my favourite parts. Just hanging out with the dogs on days off, taking them for walks around the property or down by the river. Bringing them for sleep overs.
There is one family of dogs in the kennel, mum and her four working kids who are all very close and love being inside. So we decided to bring all of them in for a sleep over. They loved it maybe even more than we did!
Winter wrapped up in the late April and we packed up and moved everything back to the summer kennels near Kamloops. We worked on and off here through out the summer helping when needed and then just being on holiday otherwise. We couldn’t stay away from the dogs for too long as we would start getting withdrawals.
Now it is that time of year again and we are back into fall training. This time we are the guys who are training up the dogs and there are some new ‘newbies’ coming in for ‘Mushing school’ to start the cycle once again.