Our third day in the Outaouais region of Canada began bright and early. Anne and I made plans to sneak in a quick run before breakfast and headed out a little after 6 a.m. We completed four miles just as the sun started to peek over the horizon.
It was the perfect way to start the day! We talked the entire time which made four miles fly by in no time at all. Anne is in the middle of training for her first marathon and without her encouragement, I’m pretty sure I would’ve slept in every single day on this trip. Thanks for the motivation, Anne!
Once we made it back to the lodge, we briefly stretched before it was time to spend the next 30 minutes showering, eating breakfast and packing up our stuff so we could head out for the day’s adventures.
First up: Dog sledding!
After our group piled into the van, we drove a short distance to Timberland Tours for a morning filled with furry fun!
Our group was invited to Timberland Tours in Bristol, Quebec to experience dryland dog carting. Up until this trip to Bristol, I didn’t know you could go dog sledding in the warmer months when there is no snow. Without snow you technically can’t go dog sledding, but dryland dog carting is a similar alternative. It’s quite the sport!
When we arrived at Timberland Tours, we were greeted by Denis Rozon. Denis owns Timberland Tours and has been dog sledding since he was 6 years old. It was clear from the moment we met Denis that he has a tremendous passion for the sport and a serious love for his dogs. All of the dogs at Timberland Tours are retired racers. Rather than give the dogs away once they are no longer race-ready, Denis keeps his beloved dogs and they are able to exercise and have fun with tourists who visit and wish to experience dog sledding or dog carting.
Timberland Tours is home to 40 very excitable dogs!
Whenever a car full of visitors pulls up to Timberland Tours, the dogs go crazy with anticipation!
Tourists are free to pet and play with the dogs and they were all incredibly friendly. It’s clear that the dogs are used to being around people and they were so, so thrilled when we walked up. It meant it was almost sled time!
I did my best to distribute my love to a bunch of the dogs and couldn’t help but feel extra attached to Bear and Whiskey, two of the female dogs that reminded me of Sadie. They also happened to be the group leaders which I found really interesting. They were really excited to run, but weren’t as spastic as some of the other dogs and they basically melted into my body when I started to pet them. I’m such a sucker for cuddly dogs and it was clear to me that Bear and Whiskey were little love machines!
Dryland dog carting is different from typical dog sledding since there is no snow and a sled is not used. Dogs pull you around a track made of hard-packed sand and judging by the excitement level of the dogs, they love it!
When Denis and his team walked over to the dogs to select eight of them to pull our group in a large cart, they went absolutely nuts. It was clear to see that these dogs live for this sport. They all jumped up and down and, if selected, they bounded toward the sled with incredible enthusiasm.
When asked how often each dog gets to help pull a sled, Denis told us that they pull a cart or sled every other day or so and he makes sure they get proper rest in between runs.
The dogs pulled our group of eight for just over a mile and absolutely took off when Denis told them to go. We flew around the sand track in our little cart as Denis called out to encourage his dogs. He called them by name and when I asked him whether or not they know their individual names he replied, “Oh yes. Absolutely.”
Our group had a blast with the dogs and waited around for a few minutes until it was safe for the dogs to have water after their romp around the track. (Denis waits for a few minutes to give the dogs water right after a run for safety.)
After the dogs were done gulping down their water, we followed Denis to a room where all of his trophies and dog photos are displayed.
Timberland Tours is actually named after Denis’ favorite dog, Timber, and his picture is framed for everyone to see.
Denis was so great about answering all of our questions about the dog’s diet, exercise routine, veterinary care and more. I found the dog’s diet particularly interesting. Every day each dog is served a pound of raw chicken or raw beef, half a cup of rice, half a cup of kibble, one tablespoon of fish oil, a teaspoon of kelp and vitamins. Their diet was created by a veterinarian who is also into dog sledding!
It was such a pleasure to meet Denis and talk about his wonderful dogs with him. I am a serious dog lover, so spending the morning with 40 beautiful and energetic dogs was such a treat!
Once our time at Timberland Tours was over, we drove to the village of Shawville for lunch at Café 349.
Café 349 opened in 2002 and serves fresh food made with local ingredients.
Anne + Anne
It was a little chilly inside, so a hot cappuccino and a warm cup of soup sounded like the perfect way to begin my meal.
The soup of the day was a lentil beef soup that came with warm brown bread that I used for dipping. It was the perfect cold weather pick-me-up.
I also ordered a large salad with pecans and fruit and ate some of Anne’s sweet potato quesadilla.
We were told to try not to fill up too much because lots of sweet treats awaited us at our next destination!
Sweet stuff to come!
Previous Outaouais region press trip recaps: