06 Jan Summer Dog Carting in Churchill, Manitoba
Churchill, Manitoba, offers summer visitors plenty of options for interacting with and viewing wildlife. We spent lots of time with the playful beluga whales, and we even lucked out and spotted plenty of polar bears on both a Tundra Buggy and a helicopter. Another fun wildlife adventure that we were able to experience was summer dog carting in Churchill with Wapusk Adventures.
Our adventure started off in town at Wapusk General Store where Dave, one of the owners, picked us up and brought us out to the dogsledding headquarters. Our trip to Churchill was hosted and arranged by Travel Manitoba, and due to our jam-packed schedule, we couldn’t get on an official tour at Wapusk Adventures. Instead, Dave gave us an individual media tour, and we were able to see all the exciting things they have to offer on site.
After a short drive into the country, we arrived at the small cabin and dog sled camp that was home to all of Wapusk Adventures’ dogs. Dave led us inside the cabin and introduced us to Mary, his right-hand teammate with the dogs. The two of them told us stories of dog mushing and taught us about how they raise, train and care for the dogs.
We were super impressed with the care the dogs receive. Dave told us that his philosophy is that the dogs are always in control; it’s up to the them to determine how they want to interact with the people. While they are stern with the dogs, they train them with kindness and never yell. Using this philosophy, they have rescued and rehabilitated many of the dogs on site. When some of the dogs came into the care of Wapusk Adventures, they wouldn’t let people touch them. But, through Dave’s training techniques, they have become happy and healthy. Dave puts the dogs first above all else and has even been known to stop and prioritize their care over winning a race.
Speaking of racing, Dave has a myriad of medals under his belt. He has been racing for many, many years, and has won a wide range of dog sledding races. It was so entertaining to hear all about the various races he has run over the years while looking at his wall full of awards. Mary is also training for a big individual race that she is setting out on this winter. During our visit, we also learned about how Mary came to be a valued musher at Wapusk Adventures. After visiting the facility on a tour, Mary fell in love with the dogs and ended up moving to Churchill full time to work with them.
Next, we ventured outside to see the dogs and their houses. When Dave and Mary started to get the dogs assembled, you could tell they were so excited to get out and run. All the dogs started barking and jumping as if to say, “pick me, pick me!”
Since our Churchill adventure took place in the summer, we couldn’t go on a full-blown dog sledding adventure like we have in the past in Utah and Colorado. Instead of a snowy run, we hopped in a custom summer cart with wheels that was built to resemble a winter sled. Micah and Mary were the mushers standing in the back of the cart, and I got to relax and sit in the front bucket seat.
We settled into our positions and then set out to run the “Ididamile”, which is a mile-long trail through the woods. We passed beautiful wildflowers and trees as we chatted about dog sledding with Mary. The dogs were so excited to run, and by the end of the trail, they were happily tuckered out. It was so much fun flying around the trail—we’d love to head back again sometime and try it out in the winter!
After our run, we got to check out the on-site tipi and learned more about the various tours Wapusk Adventures offers. We also had the chance to see the new batch of adorable puppies that were only 10 days old. They were so tiny their eyes weren’t even fully open yet!
Summer dog carting with Wapusk Adventures was such a fun and interesting experience. You can tell that Dave and Mary both love what they do, and they care for the dogs with all their hearts. It was fun to see such a wonderful crew of dog sledding aficionados. Summer dog carting in Churchill was definitely an adventure for the books!