Most of our clients are aware that we are firm believers in experiences.
More specifically: EXPERIENCES > THINGS
We’ve been asked many times over the past month, “dog-sledding?”
In the fall of 2018, while photographing one of the best weddings ever, we met Emily. Emily is a good friend of our bride and after hearing her talk about her decision to sell her belongings to travel the world, we began following Emily on IG. Since then, we have enjoyed watching her adventures and have been gathering tips and tricks along the way. In the fall of 2020, amidst our busy wedding season, Emily announced she was planning her first group trip in her home state, Minnesota. As soon as I (April) saw the post, I looked at Bryan and asked, “do you want to go dog-sledding?” After giving me a puzzling look, and asking a few questions, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “sure!” (Pro tip: find a life partner who supports even your craziest ideas).
We decided to fly in a day early and do some exploring in the town of Duluth. [Bryan can literally fall asleep anywhere]. We flew in over a frozen Lake Superior, got a rental car, and drove to Superior, Wisconsin to hit up two “Diner’s, Drive-Ins, and Dive’s” locations (iykyk). Bryan has loved the show for years and enjoys good food. First up, was Anchor Bar, where we had the best burgers in our lives! Then we tried Shorty’s where we had an amazing smoked meat poutine….OMG!
While in Wisconsin, we noticed people were ice fishing on Superior Bay, and I couldn’t resist the urge to stand on a piece of the largest of the Great Lakes. Bryan was apprehensive (and full disclosure, when we drove back to the airport at the end of our trip, it was no longer a solid sheet of ice) but I eventually convinced him that it would be another “experience.” Okay, more of a tourist thing maybe, since locals are very use to the lake freezing, but I digress.
After some time on the ice, we hiked to an overlook to get a spectacular view of Duluth and the southern part of Lake Superior.
The bridge in Duluth is best described as an elevator. It’s beautiful both in the daytime and after dark, and the history/engineering is magnificent.
Finally, it was time to make the 2.5 hour drive north to Ely to meet the rest of the group and the dogs! Born and raised in PA, we anticipated pothole riddled roads, and maybe even some that were still snow/ice covered. NOT SO! Minnesota, as I’m assuming most northern states do, knows how to handle snow! We arrived to this beautiful lodge, and after dropping off our bags were eager to meet our furry companions for the next few days.
Everyone had “favorites,” but in all honesty, every dog was full of personality and so lovable. On day one, we had two shorter “runs,” one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. The first day was full of learning, including how to “dress” and “undress” the dogs.
Photo credit: Eric Sherman Images
The dogs use snow piles to hydrate on the trails as well as cool off!
Hard work deserves tons of praise and love. And this team couldn’t seem to get enough pets or belly scratches.
Evenings on the lake
At the end of our days, we helped with kennel chores before heading back to the lodge for dinner. We raced to catch sunset most evenings because they were just too good to miss.
We tried our hands at star photography. Our couples know we usually incorporate a night-time photo or two into their wedding day, but this was our first go at photographing the stars.
Final Day on the Trails
On day three we had a solid routine. We had mastered the harness, we knew our teams. It was a gorgeous, bittersweet day.
Add this to our list of things we’d previously never done!
Good-byes on the last morning were heartbreaking. Typically Bryan and I are both ready to get home to our kids, but this was different. We joked that we should just send for the kids and have them come to us. Northern Minnesota felt like home after just a few days. The stillness and tranquility we felt was unlike anything either of us had previously experienced.
Photo credit: Eric Sherman Images
We are so grateful to Emily and the crew at Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge for all of the work they put into making this trip amazing. The food prepared by Chef Goose, our guides, and of course the hardest workers of all, the dogs, made this trip one we will never forget. And to our travel group….LOVE YOU ALL! Each of you is incredible and we are so happy our journey’s intertwined in Ely, Minnesota! We hope to return with our kids next season…so stay tuned for another winter adventure!
(**note: all photos were taken with either a Sony A7iii or April’s iPhone with the exception of the credited photos)