On the trails with seven Siberians

Trina Samson and Jim Chadwick head out for the trails around Oban.

OBAN: Anyone looking to get out and enjoy nature would be well advised to contact Jim Chadwick who, with the help of seven Siberian Huskies, is offering a unique trip into the woods at Oban Wilderness Dog Sledding.

“I’ve been doing it for close to seven years,” Chadwick said, in terms of dog sledding in general. “For the last few years, I’ve been giving rides – basically friends on Facebook and stuff like that. This year, I decided to get into it hot and heavy.”

Taking care of seven dogs – Aida, Aloo, Bella, Dax, Ice, Koda, and Snowball — is no small feat, as all of them need attention and companionship. They are also large animals with stomachs that need to be filled.

“We’re not making a lot of money, but this will help buy the dog food,” Chadwick said.

“I take people out on the trails for little journeys, anywhere from two kilometers to six kilometers. With a small team, I can’t do too many people in a day.

“It’s on a lot of people’s bucket lists to go on a dog sled ride, and it’s nice to be a part of it.”

Chadwick is an animal lover, and getting the dogs was never intended to be a step toward opening a small business. His love of the outdoors and fondness for the animals resulted in him having the animals.

Many of the animals were problem dogs, he said, and dogs that no one wanted. Any behavioural problems were remedied, he said, by allowing the Siberians a healthy amount of exercise.

“It’s a constant battle to give them a good home,” he said. “It’s just like you had seven kids – it’s hard to give each one attention.”

Anyone interested in going for a backwoods tour with Chadwick is welcome to contact him on Facebook. His corner or cyberspace can be found by entering “Oban Wilderness Dog Sledding” into Facebook’s search engine.

“I try not to get too large a group of people,” he said. “We keep it low key.”

Sadly, the dog sledding season is not a long one. Chadwick said there’s a window of two and a half months where the snow bases will be adequate for the runs. After that, locals will have to wait until the winter of 2018-19 for the fun to resume.

Until then, he and the dogs will be enjoying the off season in Oban.

“We’re just happy to have them,” he said. “They’re enjoying themselves and having a good time.”