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Sledding in Algonquin Park

Gail P
March 8th, 2010, 02:19 PM
Here are a few pictures from our trip up to Algonquin Park yesterday. Beautiful day, mild but not too bad on the trails. A little bit soft where the sun was beating down on the snow but the trails wind through the forest so most of it was still in really good shape.

Lightning, Rain, Flurry and Thunder on my sled
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Dru and Storm with my goofball daughter (who's never supposed to let go of the sled :rolleyes: )
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Gail P
March 8th, 2010, 02:25 PM
Do you want to stop somewhere around here?
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Lunch break!
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Gail P
March 8th, 2010, 02:44 PM
Back on the trail. We did a little switch and put Dru into the team so he'd have 3 dogs helping him instead of just one, and put big powerful Flurry in the 2-dog team instead. We could have done 3 and 3 instead of 4 and 2, but my daughter is lighter and had an empty sled, I had the sled bag with all our gear on mine so I used 4 dogs.
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As I mentioned in my other thread (the one about puppy training), on this trip to the Algonquin trails we were thinking of doing around 10-12 miles and stopping along the way for lunch. Instead, we ended up doing just over 17 miles. Not long after our lunch break I was following my friend up a hill and told her I was going to stop and wait for my daughter, who with only 2 dogs on the sled had fallen behind just a bit, but I told my friend to go on ahead of she wanted, we all knew where we were planning to go. Which was suppposed to be left at the next trail junction, working our way back onto the main trail and towards where we had started. When I got to the trail junction, the freshest looking set of tracks went straight through. I was then faced with the decision of going left as planned or follow my friend's tracks through the junction and try to catch up so we would be sticking together. I opted for sticking together and set out on a trail which would eventually take us all the way to the very end of the trail system. From the junction I was at, the trail map said it was 4.4km to the next junction, at which point the left fork would be 1.4 km and the right fork 1.7km to where they meet up again and turn into one short section of about .6km to the very end. We reached the 4.4km junction without catching her and then I started second guessing myself and if it was her tracks we were following. There had appeared to be a set of tracks turning left at the junction we were planning to turn at, but they looked older than the ones going straight through, and we hadn't met anyone else on the trails so the freshest ones should have been hers since she was only a few minutes ahead of us. So we gave the dogs a break and a drink at the junction we were now stopped at, pondered a bit and decided to head back. If she had gone up to the trail end it would not be long before she'd be following us back, or if she had actually turned left where we were supposed to she was already on her way back to the trucks and we would meet up there. So we ended up doing an extra 8.8 km that we hadn't really planned on, for a total of 27.9 km (17.4 miles) in total. The dogs were going pretty slow on the way back, those final few miles but we let them take it easy and right at the very end they picked up speed and went blasting down the final hill back to the parking lot. They rested well last night and I thought they'd be tired today and maybe even a little sore since we did about 3 time the distance we usually do, but today they're feeling great. When out playing this morning they were full of energy, ripping around our own trail like they're ready to go do it all again. Everybody is moving well, not sore at all and in great spirits. Hmmm...maybe I should be looking at mid-distance racing instead of sprints :p Or not, I like the speed of the sprints :o

Oh, and my friend? she was back at the trucks. I don't know whose tracks those other fresh looking ones were.

mummummum
March 8th, 2010, 08:18 PM
Looks like you had amazing weather for it. You don't use walkie-talkies to communicate?

otter
March 8th, 2010, 09:20 PM
Ooooooooooooooooooooo i'm soooooooooooooooo jealous!!!:p

Are there special trails in Algonquin just for dog sledding? the trails look so perfect!

Just out of curiosity, have you ever tried a kicksled? I'm thinkin' might be a good option for Nolie and I.... yes, some silly musher out there sucked us in :laughing::laughing:

Gail P
March 8th, 2010, 10:59 PM
Looks like you had amazing weather for it. You don't use walkie-talkies to communicate?
I have a set of 3 walkie talkies that my husband brought home from work that they weren't using. I've tested them out around the house and 2 of them seemed to work, the other one didn't. The last time we went up to Algonquin we were going to use them but trying to communicate between vehicles didn't seem to be working. Not sure if we were out of range or if these ones just aren't really any good. I didn't bring them this time since they weren't much use the last time, and also I thought we'd all be staying together.

Ooooooooooooooooooooo i'm soooooooooooooooo jealous!!!:p

Are there special trails in Algonquin just for dog sledding? the trails look so perfect!

Just out of curiosity, have you ever tried a kicksled? I'm thinkin' might be a good option for Nolie and I.... yes, some silly musher out there sucked us in :laughing::laughing:

There are two sets of groomed trails just for dogsledding there (and they had just been groomed 2 days before we were there) :D Skiers and snowshoers are also permitted on the dogsled trails but the dogsleds have the right-of-way. This link shows the location of the trails, but a detailed trail map is not available online, you have to get those from the park office. http://www.algonquinpark.on.ca/mustrails/dogsled.html These pictures were taken when we were on some of the single lane side trails. The main trail that these ones branch off of is wider and is divided into two lanes by a berm of snow up the middle. I just dug up a picture from last year that shows what the main trail is like.

I haven't ever tried a kicksled, but I hear that they are great to use with one or two dogs, or even without dogs. I do know of a couple of people who sell them. One guy is often at the races with mushing supplies, the other is someone who builds and repairs sleds. He's done some work on my older sled and does a great job. One drawback to a kicksled may be that I don't think they normally come with a brake, that's something that you'd probably want to have added on if you're using it with dogs.

growler~GateKeeper
March 8th, 2010, 11:39 PM
Great pics :thumbs up Trails look great, weather was glorious, scenery gorgeous, dogs were happy what more could you ask for :cloud9:

hazelrunpack
March 9th, 2010, 12:24 AM
Great pics, Gail! Your threads are always fun!! Love that air of impatience the dogs have while waiting through your lunch! :laughing:

What's a kicksled? :confused:

hazelrunpack
March 9th, 2010, 12:26 AM
nvm...I finally got the wikipedia page to download :thumbs up (Dang, I can't wait for DSL! :laughing:)

Gail P
March 9th, 2010, 12:38 AM
Great pics, Gail! Your threads are always fun!! Love that air of impatience the dogs have while waiting through your lunch! :laughing:

What's a kicksled? :confused:

The dogs had a drink and a snack and then were content to chew on some meaty bones I brought for them while I sat on the sled having my lunch. My friend's dogs were a little more restless though and when I started moving around and went to take some pictures of them my guys thought we were getting ready to go and started getting excited.

Melinda
March 9th, 2010, 06:01 AM
wow, looks like you had a wonderful time, such gorgeous pictures, must have been so peaceful out there, natures cathedral

Gail P
March 9th, 2010, 08:31 AM
wow, looks like you had a wonderful time, such gorgeous pictures, must have been so peaceful out there, natures cathedral

It's always great to get out and make a day of it and it is a beautiful spot. Actually right around me is very much the same but there aren't any longer trails that I can run the dogs on. My own and all my friends/neighbours trails are all much shorter and although there are lots of ski and snowmobile trails in the area we can't run on them with the dogs. But, snowmobile season is now coming to an end and most of the trails are listed as "closed" or "limited" on the snowmobile association's website. And I do have one right at the end of my dead-end road...:evil:

Love4himies
March 9th, 2010, 08:33 AM
What great pics, gailp :cloud9::lovestruck:.

I always have to look at them at least twice, I am so envious of your exciting outings. :lovestruck:

Tundra_Queen
March 10th, 2010, 04:10 PM
Gail, I love reading all about your trail runs and the pictures are beautiful!

Gail P
March 10th, 2010, 06:17 PM
Thanks :) I had them all out again today for a run, forgot the GPS so I'm not sure how far but I think it was between about 4-6 miles. Just on the snowmobile trail at the end of my road for something different. I keep checking the snowmobile association website for what the status is on their trails and as of now they are all officially closed. So it is less likely now that I would encounter any and if I do they don't have any more right than I do to be on the trails. Most of the trail was in pretty good shape but there were a few bare patches and a bit of bedrock showing. With it being soft and in places a bit slushy, we were taking it slow and I was able to tell them "easy" and lift the sled over the worst areas. What I need is to get a set of really crappy old plastic for the runners and then it won't matter what it drags over. The plastic that's on the sled now is well used but I've always taken care of it and can still wax it up pretty good for racing so I don't want to really rip it up. Much as I hate to admit it, I think my time on snow is almost done if we get the 3 days of rain that they're forecasting. Mind you, that's not starting until Friday so there's still tomorrow morning! :thumbs up :D And, in preparation for when there is no longer enough snow, today I dug out my little trailer that I haul around my dryland rig in. It was parked on the front lawn and still buried in about 1 1/2 to 2 feet of snow.