About one week after the legendary John Beargrease Sled Dog Race, University of Wisconsin-Superior students were given the opportunity to meet a team of sled dogs in Wessman Arena’s parking lot.
These dogs did not compete in the race as they are a part of the CAST outdoor adventures team in Ely MN.
These dogs are important to the experience of camping in the Boundary Waters through the CAST trips because they are your transport around the camp. Led by David Hicks, who is surprisingly from Texas found the gem of Ely after falling in love with Alaska during his time with the marines.
Using the landscape and his desire to teach about all the outdoors have to offer Hicks created a team with his wife Heather, Peter Johnson, and newest member Nick Bailles. Together they take care of a team of 27 dogs who have been brought to them through old race teams and pickups from the pound.
This crew brings the opportunity to explore the boundary waters like no other team because of their expert guiding and well-trained dogs. Two of the dogs, Muck and Stewie are fully blind but that didn’t make Hicks even hesitate to take them. “(Stewie) is still one of the hardest pullers on the team,” said Hicks.
At Wessman students were able to meet the dogs and even had the opportunity to get a ride from the team.
Student Lexi Doolittle said about the experience, “The dogs don’t seem to do it because they have to, when they aren’t moving, they would be barking and jumping forward because they want to run.”
This eagerness just shows they want to help people. The dogs were so loveable, reaching their paws up to the students shoulders literally trying to hug them. In a very stressful stretch of winter, you could see both the dogs and students were very appreciative of the CAST team.
If you are looking for more information on the CAST team you can find their online page at elydaytrips.com.
From this page you can see the variety of trips they have that include fishing, meals, winter gear and three days of adventure.