Tag Archives: montana

Dog Sledding

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123 Dogs.

That’s more dogs than there have ever been in a Disney movie.

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When we signed up for dog sledding, I had no idea what to expect–and a dog farm with 123 dogs never even crossed my mind. Sled with 12 dogs attached and a musher–maybe, but 123 dogs? No way. What an amazing surprise.

As we drove up a small road to Dog Sled Adventures Montana–just a few miles west of Glacier National Park, I saw a dog peek it’s heads out from behind some trees “There’s a dog!” I yelled.

“There’s a circle of them I continued.” And then I realized we were surrounded my dozens of man’s best friends. In my head I began singing, “Here a dog–there a dog, everywhere a dog, dog, dog.”

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I turned to David–and I could just see his eyes light up, his heart bubbling with excitement. If the doors would have been unlocked, I am positive that he would have jumped out before the car had pulled all the way in.

We were entering dog paradise.

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While making our final turn up the snowy driveway, Jeff, the owner, greeted us with a giant smile. I knew he must take the dogs out a lot –and that his business must be booming–by his wind burnt face which made his smile glow even more.

Before we even got on the sled, Jeff took us around the dog farm and introduced us to ALL of the dogs. Again–David’s face lit up–and even my soul danced a bit too. As we met more and more dogs, I began to get more and more excited–“These guys really want to do this!” I thought to myself as another dog snuggled up to my leg.

Not before long David, Kim and I were cozying up to one another in a three person sled. While we got ourselves in order, we could hear all the dogs howling.

It felt like we were getting ready to take our marks and race–the dogs were lined up like fans at a sporting event.

I imagined the huskie to my left yelling in a deep authoritative voice: “Stay safe out there young ones.”

And the young hound dog barking: “Have fun!”

We watched as the rest of the dogs jumped up and down with as much as excitement as we felt in our now bundled bodies.

And then…WE WERE OFF!

“Woooo,” we all screeched out a bit, before hitting a few bumps on the first couple of turns.

Moments later, after hitting the first few solid bumps– “By the way–it’s a little bumpy at the start,” our young musher told us as I felt my brain hit the top of my head. “But it won’t be like that for long.”

And he was right–sooner rather than later–we were smooth sailing around turns–up hills–down hills–and through the forest, stopping occasionally for a pee or poop break (for the dogs of course–even if sometimes they didn’t want to stop!). Once in a while we’d endure another bump–but more often than not we were giggling gratefully.

“This is amazing,” I thought to myself.

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As we rode right along, I took in the views of the forest, the green that was still poking out from some of these Montana trees. I shielded my eyes from the sun as it ricocheted off the fluffy fresh flakes on the ground. And I took in the fresh smells of winter (even if they were intermingled with wiffs of dog soot). I felt Kims hands on my shoulders–and though I couldn’t see hers or David’s face for most of the ride, I could feel the energy of their smiles bouncing off the barks of the branches. After watching the videos back–I knew my feelings were right on. Each of us had smiles on that could have spread from one side of national forest we were riding through, to the other.

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The ride lasted approximately an hour–and as we approached the dog farm on our return, a chorus of dogs cheering us on, again, could be heard.

It was as if they were all yelling “Go team–go team–go team.” “Get out and play, get out and play.”

While we climbed out of the sled, the dogs continued to call to us.

We exchanged high fives with our musher and then took another tour of the dog farm–making sure to give all the pups a friendly farewell.

After saying our goodbyes, Jeff treated us to hot chocolate, cookies and conversation. I watched his eyes as he told stories about the dogs; as he relived his early sleigh rides; and as he spoke about the dogs as his family–and not just his company. I could see the passion growing as he continued to tell us truthful tales of the past. His eyes twinkled with each detail. He’s the kind of guy that you know wakes up before his alarm each day–and gets excited about it–the king of guy that you know–is genuinely happy. The kind of guy you are grateful to have met. The kind of guy that I know I am grateful to have met.

What an amazing adventure.

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Special Thanks

Dog Sled Adventures Montana

http://www.dogsledadventuresmontana.com

 

The Journey

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“And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance–I hope you dance.”

The Hobby Hoarder Dances her Pants off
I want to thank each of you with all my heart for the endless support with The Hobby Hoarder project–for taking me seriously–for seeing my potential–and for believing in me. I want to thank you for giving me constructive criticism and positive feedback. I want to thank you for following along–watching the videos, reading the posts, and sharing the site. I want to thank you for being you.

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost a year ago now that I sent out the first email describing what my intentions for the year were. It’s hard to believe that I am officially on week 52.
As I look back on the year–I reflect on the transformation of the quest. How it went form gimmicky –to serious–and how it went from a project to a lifestyle.pole dancing
I hope that if you get anything out of any posts that I’ve shared–it’s that we are truly capable of anything–that we can take advantage of every opportunity we have–and succeed–no, wait–exceed expectations. Most of all, I hope that you’ve felt inspired–that you want to take on the world–that you want to dig the bucket list out of the sand and start checking things off the list.
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When the sun rises tomorrow, I won’t be in New York City anymore. I’ll be somewhere in Virginia on the first leg of the final chapter of The Hobby Hoarder year: a cross country round trip road trip.  I’ll be somewhere reflecting on everything I’ve put my mind to this year–everything I gave a chance–everything that gave me a chance–I’ll be somewhere reflecting on …well… everything.
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As certain chapters begin to close, it’s easy to confuse “closing” with an “ending.” But just because this is the final chapter–to the first hobby year–it does not mean it’s the end–in fact, it’s really just the beginning.
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This road trip is the culmination of a year that has helped me to build confidence–to meet people–to overcome fears–to say yes and to never look back–to live without regret–to take chances–to refuse the word no–to lose the words can’t and impossible–to see the glass as half full, as opposed to half empty–to focus without distraction–to be passionate again–to love endlessly–and to live relentlessly. This road trip is a symbol of going with the heart–and never looking back. This road trip–is the only way I could see celebrating this quest–extending this quest–and living it out as a lifestyle–rather than a project.
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Four months ago, when my most recent job asked me what my availability would be post-new year, I told them that as of February 1, I had something booked. When they asked me how booked it was? I told them that it was 100 percent booked–even though they were looking to extend me past that date. After work I called my mom and told her what I did. At first she was confused why I’d turn down a job extension. I responded by saying that, “When you get the chance to sit it out or dance–you dance.–And I love dancing.”  And then I added, “What would be a more epic way to mark the year than a cross-country road trip?”
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There was dead silence on the other end. But I could tell she understood. And a month later I knew for a fact, that not only did she understand but that she and my dad 100 percent supported me, as she and my dad offered to me take one of their cars across cross-country. We’ve since chosen a different car for several reasons, but I knew in that moment–what I’d known for quite a while–that my parents were just as passionate about this project as I was. I’ve been very fortunate to have parents who support my crazy ideas. I couldn’t be more grateful for their continuous pride in my endeavors and for them believing in me and all of my decisions. I know that I’ve driven them nuts over the years.

On the same night that I called my mom, I texted my good friend Kim (who’s joining on the road trip), and told her what happened. She asked if I was okay with my decision…and I responded very simply. “Of course. If not now–then when? I would regret NOT going on this trip–and I don’t want to have regrets.

Toward the end of November, Kim and my friend David both reached out to me to tell me that they were definitely in for the road trip–David would take a break from working–as well as Kim. When I asked David why the definite answer–he responded by telling me that he wanted to spend more time with friends–and that NOW’S the time to do it.David also took a chance when he came skydiving with me in November:
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Kim, on the other hand had told me very early on that she was interested in joining (before making a solid decision months later). Her reason? “I want to do it, because I know that when you say you are going to do something, you are going to do it.”

And  Kim happened to join me for my second pilot lesson:
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The truth is that too often we say we are going to do something–and then we don’t. We find excuses, create a bucket list and bury that bucket in the sand never to be found. I wasn’t going to make excuses for this trip–for this year–and I was happy to see that my friends weren’t ready to make excuses for things they wanted to do either. It’s important to recognize the things that we dream of doing–the things that we want to do with all our heart–and then actually go out and do them.
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When the sun rises tomorrow–I won’t be in New York City. No. I’ll be right where I’m meant to be–on the road–taking it all in. I’ll be kicking off a two month road trip with two of my rocks–David and Kim, and WE’LL be making our way to the beaded streets of New Orleans–the line dancing floors of Texas–the White Sands of New Mexico, the skies of Albuquerque, the waters of the west, and the mountains of the north. We’ll be dancing to 90’s music, singing as loud as we can in the car–and going through audio books galore–(don’t believe me?…..:
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Throughout the trek, we will be hobbying away, spreading happiness–and hopefully some luck (hehe)–giving thanks, and going with the wind. Most of all– we will be living life–and that’s pretty freaking awesome. I hope you’ll follow along –and hey–maybe even call to tag along. The road’s big enough for all of us.
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Cheers,
The Hobby Hoarder
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