Llamas and Sled Dogs - Allegan SGA

From Allegan State Game Area
We've been sledding at Allegan State Game Area a few more times over the last week
From Allegan State Game Area
I've found two places that seem pretty good, for us. The first couple runs we went on we parked near 115th Ave off of 44th St. We ran north down a powerline corridor that parallels 44th St for about 1/4 mile then east on 115th Ave (on both the snowmobile "trail" and road) for about 4 miles turning around near a llama farm
From Allegan State Game Area
(which made turning my dogs around really challenging). 

On Saturday I also ran them north of 115th Ave. and 44th St. on a two-track that heads north on the west side of 44th St for about 2 miles. Much of these trails were either sand or leaves churned up by snowmobiles - hard work, but still fun.  

We also went back today and did about an 8 mile run on the trails around Ely Lake and the campground coming out onto a snowmobile trail along 116th Ave for awhile. A lot of the trail around Ely Lake was flooded out and frozen over
From Allegan State Game Area
From Allegan State Game Area
which made for real interesting going.


First Sled Run!

After work I loaded up the dogs and sled and went looking for some snow. 
We headed to the Allegan State Game Area. The Lake Shore got the first heavy snow yesterday, when we arrived in Allegan there were about 8"-10" on the ground!

This was also Cello's first time actually pulling a sled.

We ran a little over 5 miles down some snowmobile trail and two-tracks.  The off-road trail was really soft and hard going.  The on-road sections were fast but rough and added some more damage to my runner plastic - which is in pretty bad shape from last year.

The dogs ran great.  I started out with them all in single file Cello in lead Paikea in point and Jasper in wheel.  
From Allegan State Game Area

This worked pretty well, but Pai was spreading the line out across the road and this made me kind of nervous in case we had to pass a snowmobiler or hunters.
I moved Paikea back to wheel with Jasper and this worked out well.  
From Allegan State Game Area

Cello kept the line straight and tight the whole way back to the car.  Paikea seems to really like the slightly slower speed of the sled vs. bikejoring - she ran really well.  It's nice having her out on the trail because she knows commands the best and helps to turn the other dogs around, etc.  Jasper was perfect as usual running hard and steady.  Cello, the natural ran great her first time pulling a sled and in solo lead in the dark no less.  She took all the turns I called out and followed our trail back to the car exactly.     


Fort Custer Rig Session

Today we went to our first dog sledding event - a rig training session at Fort Custer State Park. The event was put on by the Mid-Union Sled Haulers (MUSH)

We were helped out by Mary, one of the organizers of the event. She let me take her three dogs and Cello out on her training rig. We made it about half way down the short run when her dog Hanna decided, she wasn't into this and sat down. We ended up in a big tangle with dog teams coming at us from both directions. I pulled the dogs off the trail and untangled the team - which wasn't easy. Not really sure what to do (Hanna wasn't moving) I decided to put cello, who was really wanting to run up front next to Mary's Alaskan Husky Naabo. I turned the team around and headed back. The other two dogs decided to follow and we made it back with out incident. I guess this was about the best training experience I could have had. I'm looking forward to running my dogs some more with this group, especially over the winter.


Sturgeon Bay

Oh Sturgeon Bay! Covered completely in sand and covered in sun...
From Wilderness State Park - 10/31/2008

Wilderness State Park

Wilderness State Park - 10/31/2008
From Wilderness State Park - 10/31/2008
Brigid and I camped overnight and went on a short hike
From Wilderness State Park - 10/31/2008
in Wilderness State Park this weekend. The sky was clear and the stars were out,
From Wilderness State Park - 10/31/2008
a cold wind off of Lake Michigan helped keep our fire stoked.
From Wilderness State Park - 10/31/2008

From Wilderness State Park - 10/31/2008


Hawk Island Dog Park - Lansing, MI

Group trip to the Lansing dog park for Jane's early B-day party.
photos by Eric from Man at Arms