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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Canicross Hikes 2009; Carver Park

Hiking along the east shore of Parley Lake

Zala was my canine team member today

Annie with her big bushy tail and our unconventional pulling dogs paired up

Roper, the Catahoula mix, and Conan, our German Sled Dog, about half way through the hike. This was Roper's first hike!

Heading back to the trail head

Shirley with Roper

Marilyn with Conan

Rich with Phoenix who is giving Rich a great work out.

Phoenix stands at attention.

Temperatures were cool for our hike today at 50 degrees F/9 degrees C. We had rain the entire previous day so the trails were very wet and soft. Because of the "rain out" conditions, our hike that was scheduled for yesterday was postponed to this morning. There was a little mist coming down as we hit the trail but the dogs didn't seem to mind!

We were joined by two newcomers. Shirley has a Catahoula mix named Roper and Rich doesn't have a dog so he borrowed one of the Points Unknown sled dogs, Phoenix, for the hike. Rich met us off the Gunflint Trail this winter when he and his wife came out on a dog mushing adventure. He was drawn to the Hedlund Huskies and came out to work with one today.

Phoenix did a great job at introducing Rich to the activity. He also taught Rich that unless the dog thinks you know what you're doing, there will be mutiny! And since this was Rich's first hike, he hadn't learned all of the finer points of canicross hiking yet. Phoenix was frustrated that we weren't going faster so Rich decided he would run him back the way we came and meet the rest of us at the parking lot. When almost back to the parking lot, Phoenix went on strike and decided he'd rather take Rich back the other way and all the way around again. They both got some good exercise today!

Roper, Shirley's Catahoula mix, was harnessed for the first time and hooked up to the line. He was hesitant at first, as any dog may be with a new activity, but with proper commands and praise, he soon was pulling up in front with the rest of the dogs. Consistency and practice will only enhance his canicross abilities. The most important thing is that he had fun! And he soon learned that you don't have to be a northern breed dog to be a sled dog! Just look at our official German sled dog, Conan. Marilyn has been working with her German Shepherd for a few years in the Canicross Hiking Club and he does an excellent job. Marilyn also works with dogs of others in her business Pure Spirit.

Melanie began working with Annie, her Siberian Husky, almost three years ago. This was Annie's first hike this season and she was raring to go!

Because of the misty and wet conditions, our hike was shorter than planned but I think it gave the newcomers a good taste of Canicross Hiking and some good things to work on for our next hike.

Please visit this link to learn about Canicross Hiking and to see the hike schedule. We hope to see you out on the trail!

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