Destination Recreation: Fall Dog Sledding - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Destination Recreation: Fall Dog Sledding

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ELMORE, Vt. -

"If somebody told me 20 years ago I was going to have 25 or 30 dogs, I would have told them they were crazy," says Ken Hagget.

Ken Hagget spent 30 years as a woodworker. He started with just one Siberian, Jake, his 13-year-old who now watches from the window. Jake pulled Ken on cross-country skis. Twenty-eight dogs, two homemade carts and a number of sleds later, as they say, the rest is history.

"Sometimes people come and say, 'How do you tell them apart?'" he says.

He knows each one by name and even their voices.

As he got the dogs ready for our run, I could tell he uses the same kind of attention to detail from woodworking as he works with his Siberian huskies.

And once they're hooked up, they let him know they're ready to hit the road! And we're off on a 3-mile tour on back roads and through the woods here in Elmore, about 15 miles outside of Stowe.

Reporter: "Do they eventually straighten out?"

Hagget: "In the back? No. Those two run like that, that's Prescott and Thunder -- adopted when they were five, always ran like that."

In the 8 years since he started doing tours, Ken has gotten a lot of these dogs through adoption and rescue organizations.

Solar is the white one up front and she's in training as a leader.

Out on the roads, it's a relatively smooth ride. There are some stops to cross the road and head onto trails.

Ken uses commands to go left and right, and to stop and start the dogs. They even get a little break thanks to mother nature, and enjoy a quick drink or even a dip in the puddles along the trail.

One of the questions that Ken gets asked a lot on the tours is whether he has a favorite. It turns out he says, it's just like kids, you like all of them for different reasons.

While a rider may enjoy the mountain views and passing through the woods, Ken doesn't notice much of that.

"I really enjoy watching them," he says.

Like a father watching his children learn and grow and sharing their gifts with others.

"Every person who comes here, they leave smiling and it's just a really rewarding job for me. I enjoy it a lot and I get to be outside and I get to hang out with these guys all the time. It's pretty much perfect!" he says.

Ken only runs the dogs if it 60 degrees or below.

For more information, contact Peacepups Dog Sledding

 

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