My family had the privilege of experiencing a bucket-list adventure with Oregon Trail of Dreams dog-sledding on a recent getaway to Mt. Bachelor. It was an awe-inspiring winter adventure that we will always remember.
When we arrived at Mt. Bachelor’s Sunrise Lodge, we were greeted by more than 40 Alaskan huskies and a team of expert mushers, including Rachael Scdoris, owner of Oregon Trail of Dreams. Rachael is a world-renowned athlete and four-time competitor in the Iditarod. Not only is Rachael the youngest athlete to ever complete the 938-mile sled dog race across Alaska’s rugged terrain, but she is also legally blind and has been since birth.
I was immediately struck by Rachael’s connection to her dogs. That morning, Mt. Bachelor conducted an unexpected avalanche control and prevention exercise. While most of the dogs were unfazed by the loud booms reverberating off the mountain, there were a few pups that were a bit unsure about the blasts. Rachael knew exactly which dogs to reassure and comfort. When I asked her about her undeniable bond with her dogs, she explained, “I’ve raised most of these dogs since they were puppies. I know the needs of each dog. It’s love.”
Exclusive access to panoramic views of snow-capped mountains
Our musher, Justin Harris — a seasoned sled dog racing veteran — welcomed us and introduced my family to the team of dogs that would take us on the sled ride of a lifetime. As we set out on our twilight run, a rush of adrenaline flooded our senses as Justin signaled the team to go. We raced down a series of hills, which Justin playfully referred to as “the roller coaster.”
The views of snow-covered Broken Top, the Three Sisters and Mt. Bachelor were spectacular as the alpine glow of the setting sun painted the sky shades of pink and purple.
The softness of the winter landscape was magical as we raced through the twists and turns of pristine U.S. Forest Service trails that are only accessible to the Oregon Trail of Dreams. Justin saw how my daughter’s face lit up when he was talking about the dogs; he took special care to engage her as he talked about his experience as a musher and the amazing canine athletes that guided our sled. It was clear Justin truly loves what he does. Rachael described Justin as “a true professional.”
It doesn’t matter how you finish, as long as the dogs are wagging their tails
This experience left such a profound impact on our oldest daughter, Grace, she asked if she could write a letter to Justin, our mushing guide, thanking him for taking her on her first sled dog adventure at Mt. Bachelor. I love how she recalled his exact words when talking about competing in this amazing sport.
Book your bucket-list winter adventure now
If you’re ready to embark on a bucket-list winter adventure that will exceed your expectations, be sure to book early. Trips often sell out during peak season. The one-hour twilight tour is perfect for a quick trip to the mountain. If you want the ultimate experience, I’d recommend the 26-mile round-trip marathon run to Elk Lake Lodge, which includes a catered lunch.
Rachael’s hope is that her guests leave with “a memory of a lifetime, respect for the tradition of dog sledding, and appreciation for the natural world.”