Travel

02/27/22

Mushing in Maine

For the New York Times

Dog-sledding across the snowy white canvas of Lake Umbagog in Southern Maine.
Credit...Erik Freeland for The New York Times

Our dog-sledding guide -- the guy with the icicle'd beard -- had already released three sets of dog teams hauling gear and inexperienced tourists into the Maine winter wonderland. It was my turn. I felt clumsy in my multiple Teletubbies layers and a bit worried that I wouldn't remember the recently shared instructions about how to handle my team of dogs.

As the guide unhitched my sled, he issued a final warning: Remember the brake!

And then we were off. A sudden jerk, a crunch as I released the brake. Except for the faint hiss of sled runners on snow, the whole world went silent. Twelve paws padded soundlessly on the snow ahead. There was the white-and-black leader, Olga, surprisingly small for her big job, followed by Teslin and Layla, both bigger and brown and black.

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