Sadly we are still not open for business due to lack of snow! It breaks my heart to have all the phone calls for tours and we have to tell folks that we are not in operation yet. We truly hope that you won’t give up on us yet for this winter season for your tour with us. Being that we are losing out Holiday business still are counting on your business this winter to be able to stay open next season. Sled dogs are not like a snowmobile rental business where the machines are just parked…..these guys keep eating to the tune of $300.00 of dog food every 9 to 10 days! Please keep checking our website for our opening date. We will post snow predictions as we see them. Happy New Year, Pat
I had the pleasure to talk to Mushing Radio….Dog Works Radio for a 1/2 hour interview recently about distance racing, Dogsled Express, and our book “Song of the Runners”. I feel bad because I kept referring to my wife, without giving Lisa’s name. Sorry Love! Robert did a good job of asking interesting ?’s and I enjoyed the whole process. Hope you enjoy. Here is the link. http://dogworksradio.com/2013/
We have a base on our trails……unfortunately we need one good snow to open. I don’t see any real possibilities of big snow producers until at least after the 1st. Forecasts for this area are hard to predict and in the past when predicting 10 days out they often show 30% and it can turn into a heavy dumping of snow, so we are hoping that will happen this year. We really count on the Holiday weeks for our business to make it through the whole year, so please…..if we do have a late start we especially hope that you will still plan a tour, or reschedule your tour once we are in operation. In the past when we have a slow start of winter weather, once it does comes in we have excellent conditions throughout the rest of the winter and well into April.
The dogs and I are bored of training with the ATV and being I only have so many good years left in me to continue driving dog teams,….. please have patience with the weather. There is nothing more rewarding for us than to see the smiling faces of our clients during and after their tour with Dogsled Express.
“Song of the Runners” is based on an actual 220 mile sled dog race. A unique insight of the thoughts and emotions that both man and dogs share while out on the trail. The story is written in the voices of Pat, (dog driver) and Casper, (lead dog). What starts out as a simple story about a dog sled race, soon becomes something much more. To order the book go to Amazon,com books. For your Kindle just go to Kindle.com and for your smart phone, i-pad and computer go to CreateSpace apps.
How to order an autographed book.
It’s simple…just send a check for $11.50 ( includes packaging, tax and shipping) to Pat Campbell, PO BOX 452 Etna, CA 96027 with your return address and it will shortly be at your doorstep. If it is a present for someone else, include there name, so I can personalize it to them.
Due to offering 3 tours a day, one sled at a time, folks have been asking, “What is the best way to get our family out on a tour?”
It really depends upon the size of your family, ages and weights. EXAMPLES: If you are a family of three and the adults are mid-size to small the you could add another small or mid-sized child with you. An adult and two kids can go together. ( Many do this so that the kids can get out and they don’t have to wait for the second sled.) Three mid-sized children can go together. Families of four will have to take two sleds…..one at a time….back to back. When we do this I won’t wait for the next time slot(tours are at 9 AM, 11:30 AM, 2:00 PM) but instead I will get back from one tour and take those dogs out and put in another dog team. If you choose this way then you have to start the tours at 9:00 am(which means the 11:30 has to be open……or if you start at 11:30, then the 2:00 pm slot has to be open) The change over takes about 30 to 40 minutes. While one sled is out with two members of the family the others often go up the road just a 1/4 mile to the ski lodge and have a hot beverage or go down the road back to highway 89 and go sliding on one of the best sliding hills in CA. (Snowman’s Hill). If you have any more ?’s, please give us a call and we will try to find a way to best serve your family’s needs. Best to make your reservations in early to get two sleds out back to back. Don’t wait until you are ready to come up here. For weekends it is best to make your reservation a couple of weeks in advance.
Due to only offering only 3 tours a day during the Holidays this season it is important that you get your reservations in soon. I understand that each year folks are waiting to see what the snow conditions are before booking their tour. There has only been one season that we have not been able to start by the week before Xmas.
Deposits are refundable if snow conditions on the trail are not satisfactory. The only time I cancel a tour is if the road conditions won’t allow safe access to the trailhead or if there are severe high winds predicted. Ski Park Highway ( the road off Highway 89 to the trailhead ) is always well maintained by the ski park, so as long as you have good tires, you will have no problem. Chains are only required if there has been new snow overnight with ice underneath. Mount Shasta Ski Park’s website gives up to date conditions on the road. Sometimes they post that chains are required, so it is good then be carrying chains if you don’t have 4 wheel drive under those conditions.
I had some time while on the fires to think through the past seasons of Dogsled Express. We’ve had some great times out on the trail with our clients. The one thing that kept coming back to me was, “What is it that makes Dogsled Express different from other dogsled tour outfits or other adventures?” Some sled guides say their tours are an hour long, while actually that hour includes the safety talk(if they have one) and time with the dogs after the ride. With Dogsled Express you get a full hour or more in the sled, plus the time for the safety talk and the time with the dogs after the ride.
Over the years my objectives were always to offer a professional and safe product to the public. I feel that I have accomplished that by 25 years of giving tours with a perfect USFS Special Use Permit safety record.
I turned 60 this year and it has made me think hard about how my wife Lisa and I would like to see the business progress. We’ve had the opportunity in the past to team up with big business to pump out the tours and make a bunch of money but I just couldn’t give up the idea to put $ as the most important objective and have others calling the shots, telling how many tours to produce and how fast or how often my dogs can run. We aren’t in this to become wealthy, we are in it for the love of it.
Our goal is to live a healthy simple life in our log cabin while continuing to share with you the beauty and experiences that these dogs have blessed us with.
Another way that makes us different from other adventures is that you are part of our product. Our trail is not just some flat track that you just ride around on. I will teach you how to lean properly to help steer the sled through the corners. You become part of the team…..dogs, driver, and passenger working as one. It is a thing of beauty. If you are comfortable with getting back on the runners with me at the end of your tour…I encourage it.
Most importantly we want you to experience the bond that goes on between the dogs, and the dogs and myself. It is a tied together by nature….whether it is a sunny day with a perfect trail, or it is harsh conditions it is one of the most real experiences that a person can have. The dogs and our tours are authentic. The elements, the work, the teamwork is real, or the sled doesn’t move. The dogs excitement isn’t for show….it is as real as life itself. Let us share it with you.
We are taking reservations and since we are offering only one tour at 9:00 am, 11:30 am and 2:00 pm, Weds. through Sundays, you may consider getting in your reservation request form in early. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
It has certainly been a full summer. Just about the time we were to finish the cover of our book, “Song of the Runners” I was called out to fight forest fires. I am a professional “C” timber faller, which is someone that is ordered up out of the private contractor sector to fall the danger trees that the USFS and Cal Fire don’t want the liability of their personal trying to do without the needed years of experience. We were first called to the Salmon River Complex, then off to the American River Fire, then the Weaverville Lightning Strikes, and wrapped up the season at the second biggest fire in CA history, the Rim Fire in Yosemite. I have been a lucky to have such a good partner (Tracy Porter), and the other two owners of Pro Plus Fallers, (Ron Woodman and Lauren Holloway). It certainly helps to be working with good people when you are around them 24 hours a day for 40 days.
The days are long and it is a constant hurry up and wait while keeping your situational awareness at a peak. Some of the trees are amazingly dangerous and the long days slowly wear you down by the (ground hog day) effect. It is so good to be home. It seems to take about a month to get caught. It is hard not to want take charge when your wife has been handling it all while you were gone…so there is a time of getting adapted to the private sector and normal home life. It makes you much more aware of what our troops must go through when coming home from a tour overseas.
Then the fun began. By the second half of Sept. I have been able to start doing what I love to do and that is running dogs. Training has been going great with a young bunch coming up while having to decide which veteran dogs need to be retired to a life of hanging out around the kennel and soaking up my love for their lifetime and dedication to the team. We have many changes to this season on amount of tours we will be giving and goals to make your tour the most personalized dog sled tour available. Because we have the best prediction for colder weather with above average than we have had for years, we are expecting a very busy season and hope to be in operation by December 14th. Our calendar will be updated soon and we are currently taking tour inquiry information and booking tours.
I will post a new blog next week with our available tour times and info. With any luck Lisa and I will have the back cover to our book completed this weekend and we will have books available to send out in the near future. ”Song of the Runners” is currently available for your Kindle and Fire from Amazon books. Search “Song of the Runners” or by the author, (myself) Pat Campbell.
Lisa and I are delighted to announce that the book we have been working on for the past three years is finally published on e- books with Amazon.com, for your Kindle. We will have the POD (print on demand) available within the coming week. So many of our past clients have been waiting for this book and it is finally here. There will be another announcement for the availability of the print book and when we have books
in stock to send you an autographed copy. Thanks for everyone’s support on this project. This is the inside cover description of the Book.
Recently I came across a poem that really spoke to me. It goes like this.
Dogs don’t lie, and why should I?
Strangers come, and they bark,
They know their loved ones in the dark.
Now let me by night or day,
Be just as full of truth as they.
My goal while writing this book was to be like the dogs in the poem above. To be truthful and honest to the reader of the thoughts and emotions I experienced while competing in an actual 220 mile sled dog race.
I want my readers to see the love, respect and deep bond that the dog driver and dogs develop over a lifetime on the trail. To get a feel of the quiet language spoken through the lines off the team. Most importantly I want you to experience the courage and determination that the sled dogs posses. They are the ultimate adventurers.
This story is written in both the voice of lead dog Casper and dog driver Pat, giving the reader a unique insight into the sport of sled dog distance racing, thoughts and emotions shared by both man and canine when matched against the elements of Mother Nature.
What starts out as a simple sled dog race quickly turns into something so much more for both Pat and his canine buddies and you the reader. I hope you enjoy the ride with both the highs and the lows of being out on the trail that “Song of The Runners”, will take you on.
Some dogs you just can’t get over missing them, even years after they are gone. It may happen when walking by a simple spot, that you shared a moment. Or a day she ran past you to to warn you of a huge rattlesnake on the trail just ahead. Could have been a moment on a lake in your boat with him curled by your feet as the shadows extend out over the lake.
I have had many great dogs, with each dog having his or her unique special ability. Louise was one such dog. She was white, (except for one black ear) that I purchased as a two year old from a veteran distance musher from central Oregon. Louise had the most determined mental ability to finish a task. Whether it was busting trail chest high snow or getting over the next mountain through high winds to the next checkpoint….you could always count her.
She first proved herself while we were making our third try at finishing the challenging 350 mile Race To The Sky in Montana. We were on the last long leg of the return trip with thirty miles to finish. We approach a fork in the trail that takes you into the White Tail Resort, which on the outbound route we turned into for a mandatory four hour layover. Louise and an older dog named Ghost were in co-lead. On the return route there was no planned layover rest stop. It is a straight run of fifty five miles to the finish. When Ghost saw that turn into the White Tail Resort he figured he had a rest stop coming. He tried over and over to turn the team onto that trail while I am giving Louise the command to go straight ahead. Louise, the young leader finally decides that enough is enough and leans hard up the trail just about dragging Ghost from turning off the main trail. After convincing Ghost there wasn’t going to be any resting there, they charged up over Huckleberry Pass and on down to the finish line.
Later that season I borrowed Louise the the musher that I got her from. She was going to the 1149 mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska. My friend had a dog pick up and injury and didn’t want to start the race short a dog, so he took Louise out for a trial run and that was it. She was going to get do do something I never did get to do. Run the Iditarod. Half way into the race(600 miles) the two young leaders of the team lost their confidence and wanted to lie down and quit on the trail. The dog driver remembered what I said about Louise. ”She will run any position on the team and won’t quit on you.” He decided to give it a try and put Louise in solo lead. She got the team up and moving and she went on to lead the team to finish the Iditarod! She had that no quit finish to the end. At eighteen years old when it got to the point where I had to help her and on her feet up each morning I knew it was her time move on.
To this day when I get to that spot in the kennel I have to stop and remember her. The only dog in history that was trained in CA., to run and complete the Iditarod Sled Dog Race !!