GR8 Outdoors: Dog sleddingNot everyone is disappointed that the weather is turning colder. The chilly temps are ideal for things like running a team of sled dogs.
By: David Schwab, WDAZ
Not everyone is disappointed that the weather is turning colder. The chilly temps are ideal for things like running a team of sled dogs.
Even before the sled dog gear is slid on, a pack of Alaskan Huskies can sense it.
Charlie: "when you go into the garage they know something is up. And when they see the collars and harnesses they know exactly what is coming."
The return of winter temps means a return of a running ritual that involves loading up the team of five huskies for a trek in and around Lancaster.
Charlie: "you can go 4 to 6 miles or you could go 20 miles if you wanted."
Charlie Bernstrom, with full family support, became a dog musher. It all started when they bought a female husky from a family friend six years ago.
Eileen Bernstrom, Charlie's Mom: "and we had Greta bred and it started from there."
It wasn't until after Greta had a litter of pups that the Bernstrom's became motivated to build dog sled team.
Eileen: "not to start with and then we thought yes. "
That family friend, who also ran dogs in Alaska, helped the Bernstroms get started.
Eileen: "she had the equipment and then we just bought it from her. So she just kind of gave Charlie the heads on what to use and how to do it."
Charlie: "and I would just go around town and teach her that gee is right and haw is left.
Charlie continues to teach those commands to the dogs added to the team. And he can do that without snow. The dogs are hooked up to a pull cart with wheels that carries Charlie just like he is on a sleigh on trails in the local park.
Eileen: "It actually takes three to hook them up. "
But once they are ready, steer clear.
Charlie: "My brother rode it once in the park, and I met him half way and he had fallen off and was full of mud. And he said never again am I doing that."
And that's just one of the reasons Charlie is the sole family musher.
Charlie: "I just do it because because I like to be around the dogs, and see how much fun they are having."
Charlie even had the dogs pull him and his bride from the church after his wedding last February. Charlie says he would like to race his dogs competitively one day, but for now it's a hobby of huskies, one that he would like to keep in the Bernstrom pack.
Charlie: "Once we have kids I would like to have them do it."