Heart of Golden, Chef for a day, Moun­tain games and On our radar

Canadian Geographic - - CONTENTS - BY SAB­RINA DOYLE

KONA IS NO damsel in dis­tress. For starters, she’s a dog — a white Alaskan husky, to be ex­act. But the story of her res­cue does carry a whiff of fairy tale (spoiler: it has a happy end­ing). Be­fore Kona ar­rived in Golden, B.C., to trot off into her snowy sun­set, she was in a rough spot in Saskatchew­an. (The de­tails aren’t en­tirely clear but in­di­cate she was ne­glected by an ill-equipped dogsled­der stretched too thin.) She was saved from that life by her cur­rent musher-cum-prince Charm­ing, Matt Parr. When I first meet Kona and Parr, they’re snug­gled on a couch next to a crack­ling pot­belly stove, Kona gaz­ing into the blue eyes of the man who’s de­voted his life to sav­ing pups in sim­i­lar po­si­tions. Over the past 11 years, Parr has res­cued some 50 dogs. He has trained and suc­cess­fully found homes for most of them with nearby farms and fam­i­lies. But 14 of those dogs now run for Parr’s Golden Dog Sled Ad­ven­tures, the tour­ing busi­ness he launched in 2013 in the town best known for ski­ing, snow­board­ing and snow­mo­bil­ing. A tour with Parr, how­ever, is an op­por­tu­nity not to be missed for vis­it­ing win­ter en­thu­si­asts. It of­fers an in­tro­duc­tion to the tra­di­tion of dogsled­ding and a heart­warm­ing story of a man ded­i­cated to sav­ing sled dogs. Peo­ple have been us­ing dogs as a means of snowy long-dis­tance travel for cen­turies; the ear­li­est ev­i­dence of sleigh­bound dogs dates back to AD 1000 and the Thule peo­ple of Canada’s North. From their his­tory as mail-car­ri­ers in north­ern Canada and Alaska to the fa­mous lead sled dogs Togo and Balto — who re­layed medicine by team to a re­mote Alaskan vil­lage suf­fer­ing from a diph­the­ria out­break — to the fic­tional Buck from Jack Lon­don’s 1903 novel The Call of the Wild, sled dogs have long held a spe­cial place within the north­ern nar­ra­tive. To­day, the hu­man-dog trans­porta­tion re­la­tion­ship is less about sur­vival and more a mat­ter of life­style. Some op­por­tunis­tic sled­ding out­fits, says Parr, take ad­van­tage of as­pi­ra­tional dog-lovers and pri­or­i­tize prof­its above the health of their charges. Some own­ers have sim­ply grown too old for the busi­ness, he notes, but are too at­tached to their dogs to let them go. Parr says the small size of his out­fit — he caps his ca­pac­ity at two teams — is what makes it par­tic­u­larly spe­cial. “Peo­ple want to see the con­nec­tion, that bond, be­tween the musher and the

A team of huskies owned by Golden Dog Sled Ad­ven­tures rests on a trail in Golden, B.C.

0 20 km AL­BERTA BRI­TISH COLUMBIA AL­BERTA En­larged area 93 BANFF NA­TIONAL PARK GOLDEN DOG SLED AD­VEN­TURES BRI­TISH Don­ald YOHO NA­TIONAL PARK Lake Louise Blae­berry Field Rogers Pass Golden 1 GLACIER NA­TIONAL PARK C o l u m bi a Ri ve r 1 95 KOOTE­NAY...

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