Going to the Dogs on Lake Umbagog

The dogs of Mahoosuc Guide Service were ready, willing, and able!

The Yukon Huskies of Mahoosuc Guide Service were ready, willing, and able!

Yes, going dogsledding was definitely a bucket list thing for both me and daughter Emma.  I had had my eye on the Mahoosuc Guide Service out of Newry Maine for years and this January the stars were finally aligned.  Emma was on break, the snow conditions were right, and there was an opening in their schedule.  So with just a few days notice, we were off to the Great White North.

Farmhouse accommodations in Newry Maine

Farmhouse accommodations in Newry Maine

We stayed the night before in the old farmhouse that serves as their headquarters, where we met our guides Kevin and Polly.  After a hearty and delicious breakfast of crepes (prepared by French intern Estelle) we were off.

Kennel on wheels

Kennel on wheels

It was a short ride to Umbagog Lake with the dogs all latched into their individual kennels in the back of the pickup.  We were all pretty excited.

Anticipation!

Anticipation!

While we prepared the sleds, the dogs were barking and yelping in excitement and eagerness for a day’s adventure.

Emma helps prepare the sleds

Emma helps prepare the sleds

But letting them out and attaching them to the sleds was the very last thing because once they were ready there was no holding them back!

Let's Go!

Let’s Go!

Conditions were perfect and our guides couldn’t have been nicer.  I had thought my gloves would stand the cold but after a few minutes they were pretty chilled.  So Kevin offered me a pair of beaver fur mittens and my hands were warm as toast for the rest of the day, even with the temperatures below zero.  About a mile into our adventure a large deer bounded out of the woods onto the frozen lake, heading towards a small island.  The dogs were eager to chase it but Kevin kept them focused and in line.  Then a bald eagle flew up from the shore, probably mad that we were disturbing his breakfast.  All along the shore we saw otter tracks in the snow, too.

Kevin gets lunch ready

Kevin gets lunch ready

Our destination was a camp about 5 miles up the lake where lunch was to be served.  It seemed like we were there in no time.

Lunch break for the huskies

Lunch break for the huskies

It was a great time to bond with the dogs as they had finally had a chance to get some energy out and were a little calmer.  They were each given a hard-boiled egg while we were treated to a hot meal.

Driving our own dogsled

Driving our own dogsled

On the way back Emma and I were able to drive our own sled.  (That’s me in the red hat.)  The dogs were tired and didn’t pull quite so quickly.  Finally we reached our starting point and had to do everything in reverse: unhook the dogs and get them into their kennels, then unpack and stow the sleds for the next day.

Emma gets a dog kiss

Emma gets a dog kiss

Then it was back to the lodge where we got a chance to meet all their dogs, not just the ones who had pulled our sleds.

Yummy!

Yummy!

If you’ve got dogsledding on your bucket list, we highly recommend the Mahoosuc Guide Service.  They’re the real deal!

Happy travels!

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6 responses to “Going to the Dogs on Lake Umbagog

    • Thanks. Yes, the dog sled adventure is a great thing and I highly recommend it next time you’re up north in the winter. It really takes you back in time, too. But owning a team of dogs is really a huge commitment of time and expense. That’s probably why dedicated people like Kevin & Polly of Mahoosuc Guide Service are few and far between.

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