Let the mountains move you in Valemount, a quiet mountain town in British Columbia’s North Thompson Valley in the Thompson-Okanagan Region.
Experiencing Canadian Winter by Dogsled
I am sure the staff at Coldfire Creek Dogsledding saw the flicker of surprise on my face when they told me I would be driving the dogsled. We wandered around the sled teams, petting as many of the dogs as we could get our hands on, familiarizing ourselves with their personalities. They barked excitedly and brushed their bodies against us, receptive to our attention.
After a comprehensive lesson on how to drive the teams, the girls climbed into the sled. I wrapped them up in the cozy blankets provided and their faces beamed with excitement and awe. I wandered to the back of the sled full of excitement and nervousness and prepared myself for the trail.
We were told that the dogs want to go- that they love to run. This was an understatement. As soon as they heard me shout the “hike” command they were off. We were barreling down the path with only the sound of the drag of the sled and the excited “yips” of the dogs. The girls were laughing at the snow being kicked up from the pups and I started to grow comfortable with handling the sled.
Once I had confidence in my driving skills, I pulled out my camera. Juggling a camera and a dogsled at the same time is easier than you would think, but still a complicated task. We followed the creek deeper into the valley, chasing the hint of sunlight peaking through the clouds. Even though we were in the depths of winter, the wind was warm against my exposed skin.
As we approached a long straight stretch we stopped to switch drivers. The girls were thrilled when they were offered the chance to drive. Gaia stepped onto the back with me and I prepared myself to pay full attention. Contrary to my assumption, she was a natural and I was able to concentrate on taking photos while she led the team. She kept exclaiming to her friend that it was easy and “so fun!”
As the girls switched out and allowed each other to drive I saw the gleam of pride spread across their face. We turned a final corner and reached the lunch spot. Nestled in a protected tree space with stunning views of the mountains and a beautiful custom fireplace, it was the perfect place for lunch. The girls wouldn’t stop raving about the baked goods and enjoyed some cider while we waited for the main course.
After lunch, we all packed back onto the sleds and raced back to the staging area. The views on the way back were just as exceptional as on the way in. Once we were at staging we thanked our dog team and guides then hopped into my truck to excitedly talk about our fun day.
Coldfire Creek Dogsledding offers a variety of tour lengths. For those pressed for time there is the “60 minute musher”, for those who want the full experience, there is the “Moonshiners of Whiskey Creek” or “Ghost of Coldfire Creek”. We luckily were invited to tag along for the Moonshiners tour. The valley that Coldfire Creek Dogsledding operates from is just northwest of Valemount. They also have a shuttle that brings customers from Jasper. More information can be found on their website, www.dogsleddinginjasper.com.