Come experience winter in the northwoods of Minnesota with the very best ambassadors of snow—Alaskan Huskies! Dogsledding is an open invitation to wildness and terrific fun. Our dogs include skilled veterans and enthusiastic youngsters, patient and well versed in working with beginners. They are friendly and huggable and extremely well cared for (following trips, many women declare they want to be reincarnated as one of our sled dogs).
The Wild Institute carefully designs trips that combine fun and adventure with time to relax and unwind. Many women choose our trips, in part, out of a desire for some quiet reflection time, the camaraderie of other wonderful women, and to connect with nature. This trip combines the joy of romping in the snow with the introspection of the hibernating season.
I look forward to traveling with you.
The first day you’ll go for a ride on the dogsled to get a feel for things. The next day, with more instruction, you’ll be driving the team (with an experienced musher on your sled to assist). When you aren’t mushing, you might choose to read by the woodstove from the extensive book collection in the main cabin, or cross country ski, or snow shoe, or hang out with your fellow mushers.
Your accommodations are cozy and warm—a beautifully designed bunkhouse cabin nestled in the woods with comfy beds and a warm woodstove. The traditional Finnish sauna is right down the trail, with everything you’ll need to wash up and relax every muscle in the process. We gather at the main cabin to eat delicious home-cooked meals (with much of the food grown, raised, or harvested in the area), share stories of the day, or cozy up with one of the retired sled dogs that live inside (on the couch). Right outside is 400+ acres of private woods and trails, which are meticulously groomed and great for cross country skiing and snow shoeing.
Your guides for this trip are long-time mushers and guides who love to share this incredible sport and way of life with you. Kathleen Anderson has been homesteading in northern Minnesota and guiding trips for over 3 decades. She currently has 35 sled dogs. Chris Heeter (founder of The Wild Institute) has been mushing and guiding dogsledding trips with Kathleen for 25+ years, and she speaks to companies and conferences on leadership, teamwork, and diversity using sled dog stories and lessons learned from her own team of 16 dogs.
Though you do not need any prior dogsledding experience, know that the dogs are large and strong, and will likely pull you rather hard and might knock you down a time or two in their enthusiasm to get to the sled or give you a hug. Driving the sled requires balance and some upper body strength and endurance, but mostly it takes an adventurous spirit. Women of many ages, shapes, and sizes have joined us and fallen in love with dogsledding.
What to bring: When you register, you’ll receive a detailed packing list, so you’ll be sure to have what you need to be comfortable. You’ll sleep in a cozy cabin with a woodstove. All you’ll need to bring is your personal gear, sleeping bag, and skis/snowshoes (if you have them, we have some you can borrow as well).
How much experience, how in shape do I need to be: Though many women use their trip as motivation to get in better shape beforehand, no experience or particular fitness level is required for this trip. The dogs are very enthusiastic, so it takes some strength to lead them to the sled. Driving the sled is mostly about leaning, balance, and a little running. If you are concerned about the physical demands of the trip, please call.
Weather: February in northern Minnesota is more variable than you might think. Past trips have experienced temperatures below zero and in the 20’s. Your packing list will help you be prepared for all possibilities, and you’ll be in warm cabins for sleeping, eating, and relaxing.
Meals: Food matters! Play outside…eat a lot: one of the gifts of winter activities. Delicious meals, all made from scratch, are primarily raised, grown, or harvested in the area. And chocolate, quiet simply, is a necessary staple on all Wild trips!
- We specialize in women’s trips and on occasion put together mixed trips for families, friends, or work groups
- Many locations and activities are available, primarily canoeing, sea kayaking, hiking, dog-sledding, and winter get-aways; familiar stomping grounds include the Boundary Waters, Wisconsin River, Wabakimi Provincial Park, Northeastern Minnesota, Southeastern Utah, the Porcupine Mountains, and more
- Only a few slots are open each year, it’s first come, first served—we find a date that works for everyone, get people on board and excited, and craft a Wild trip