Husky Power Dogsledding
Home The Tours and Adventures Our Family of Huskies About Us - Your Tourguides Reservations & Information Artwork & Artist Services
FAQ         Links         Testimonials        Pics/Videos/Poetry     Puppies!        News

 

About the Owners (Your Tourguides) & Our Handlers


Mike and Blackie portrait Linda with Buzz and Blackie sitting on ground

“MIKE AND LINDA HERDERING” are happy to share their dogsledding expertise with you.  Ecstatic, in fact.  There’s nothing they love to do more.

“Colonel Mike the Marine” retired from the US Marine Corps after serving 31 years around the world.  His duties included six different commands, while learning to take commands from his wife.  Mike trained Labador Retrievers when he was a young pup himself, one of whom he gave away to help protect Camp David.  Linda “retired” from several different professions, depending on where in the world she was.  “BM” (Before Mike, Before Marines, Before Marriage, Before Madness) she was the owner/operator of Viewfinder Photography, then later a freelance writer.  The Herderings have a son and three grandchildren in Martinsburg, WV.

Here ’s how Linda tells their story:

Mike and puppies on sledBoth Mike and I are strong enough to wrestle dogs, fit, healthy, relatively young (50s and 40s) ... opps, 60s and 50s now!...  and probably a little crazy--for our goal in life consists solely of sharing our love of dogsledding and Siberian Huskies with the public.  Both of us are Wilderness First Aid certified, CPR certified, expert dogsled driver and "masters of the scoop.". 

Mushing.  Dogsledding.  Driving Dogs.  Running Dogs.  Skijoring.  Canicross.  Over many years, not a winter passed where we didn't vacation in the land of snow—often weeklong camping trips in the wilderness with our own team of sleddogs provided by Canadian tour operators.  We were smitten, and our fate was sealed.  But many skills needed to be learned while solidifying our decision to operate our own dogsled touring business.

During the two years after Mike retired from the USMC, we both gained extensive experience at two very large dogsledding kennels that offered training through apprentice-type programs.  Seven days a week, morning, noon and night, we worked with, for and around sleddogs.  In Chatham, MI we helped Caribou Creek Kennels train 120-dogs to win major dogsledding races.  Caribou Creek Kennel depends on healthy well-trained dogs that place in international races in order to promote sales of their pups and the dog food they manufacture.  (There's high demand at a high price for the winning dog’s offspring and food type.)  That's a lot of dogs!

Linda at leaders in lineWe worked in a similar manner for Kuka Kennels, a 60-dog operation in Glenwood Springs, CO.  Kuka's main focus was to open a touring business outside the Aspen slopes with its tour-designated dogs; and to train its racing-designated dogs to run the Iditarod.  Both Mike and I were instrumental in each area by designing and maintaining tour trails; training both sets of dogs; and helping run the tour business so the owner could race in Alaska.  Kuka subsequently finished in the low 30s in three Iditarods.  At these two kennels not a day passed where we weren’t completely focused on dogs and dogsledding (to include the real test of loving sleddogs--scooping up hundred of pounds of dog-made-presents per day.)Mike, Linda, Jag, Thunder, Iggy Portrait with sled

We then decided that Maryland, where I grew up, would be the perfect place to operate our own dogsled touring business.  Mountain Maryland has been our home-away-from home… with our family all over MD from the mountains to the shore (including Deep Creek Lake) and the alma-mater of nearby Frostburg University, what better place!  In addition, dogsledding is relatively unknown here, as it is elsewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line.  This "uniqueness" provides us with even more opportunity to indulge in our favorite pastime--teaching others about our sport.  We decided to contribute to the mushing sport and community by settling our dogs and ourselves back in beautiful western Maryland.

 

Our business philosophy centers on the educational endeavor to promote the unique sport of dogsledding to visitors and local residents alike.  We want our guests to experience the joy of mushing ... along with learning some of its varied skills, history and lore.  Our goal is in direct opposition to many dogsled-touring companies around the world that push large numbers of people through for rides on an hourly basis.  A few visitors have called their experience here "Fun-ucational."

                                                                                                           Linda and Mike standing

Linda and Mike hooking dogs

We hope you will join us and our team for adventure, thrill… and an unforgettable learning experience.  We know you’ll take away fantastic memories of your visit with us.  And we think, at the other end of the scale, you just may be so enthralled you’ll start skijoring with your dog, or perhaps start a dogsledding kennel of your own!

 

We promise you an intriguing and thrilling adventure with the  

          

THE POWER OF HUSKIES

  and

HUSKY POWER DOGSLEDDING!

*****************************************************

 

OUR "HANDLERS"... Musher-Speak for Helpers

Ms. Sarah Vitak became Husky Power's "MIT" (Musher-in-Training") during October 2013.  Sarah has done much world traveling and apprenticing in other countries--but, as she said, "I always wanted to learn to mush."  After earning a degree in Microbiology, she is taking a year off to travel and mush before attending graduate school.  Sarah hails from both CA and MD.

Sarah Vitak 1   Sarah Vitak 2Sarah Vitak 3

 

*****************************************************************************

 

Ms. Kara Lewandowski arrived at Husky Power for the Winter season 2012/2013 as a "Musher-in-Training."  Originally from Wisconsin (or as she calls it: "God's Country") she completed a degree in Environmental Science.  Three long summers found Kara, a National Park Ranger, working way up north in Alaska's Katmai Nat'l Park--and a few winters further south as a seasonal ranger in S. California Nat'l Parks.  Kara said she would love to learn to mush-- after all, she never had a dog as a kid and has worked many months with "The Big Dogs, a.k.a. Brown Bears" at Katmai.  She plans to continue on with the Park Service.

Kara mushes a team alone for the first time     

Kara's Model Shot    Kara talking to scouts

 

*****************************************************************************

Ms. Jessica Drain apprenticed with Husky Power after earning her degree in Environmental Science from the U of MD-- in our home state.  THEN she spent a long summer (2011) at Denali National Park in AK working with their sled dogs, educating visitors, and giving sled driving demos.  She hopes to go back to Denali NP after learning even more about dogsledding with us.  Who would have known Laurel, MD has mushers!

       

    

 

*****************************************************************************

 

Mr. Nick Faccio is working towards operating a recreation-touring business in the future... with dogsledding during colder months of course!  He began apprenticing with Husky Power during Sept. 2011 and learned to mush exceptionally quickly. 

Nick-1  Nick-5

Hailing from Michigan, he knows some things about snow.  Nick earned his private pilot's license and has spent a summer in both AK and MN as he worked on his Bachelor's degree.  Nick built dog houses, cleared trails and fell in love with Ms. Thunder!   Here he is during his first few days driving a team of hard-running, soft huggin', big kissin' huskies!

 Nick 0  Nick 6

    Nick-2  Nick-4

 

*****************************************************************************

 

Wow...  it's been a great Spring 2010 for helpers/handlers!  We've had three new mushers-in-training work with us for parts of the Spring tours.  They are ALL great help and capable and fun to be with.  The dogs just love them too!   Ms Shannon Borowy is a student only a mile away at Garrett College.  She asked to volunteer for the great experience and to be with the dogs.  She's been learning so fast and helping tons.  Mr. Jay Clark, retired Navy, has an animal business taking care of pets in their own homes all around our area: "Garrett Petminders."   Our dogs depend on him for caretaking when we're gone and he's been helping during mushing tours too!  Mr. Carson Lindbeck emailed us from VA to ask if he could visit and learn about mushing.  He's been helping and learning and will soon be attending Veterinary School to become a Vet at VA Tech in the Fall 2010.  Thanks to all of you! 

Jay with a melted Denali       Shannon leading a scout tour to the dogs      Carson brushing Buzz Lightyear

         Jay with a melted Denali!      Shannon leading scouts to the dogs!      Carson brushing a happy Buzz! 

 

*****************************************************************************

 

 

  Toni Showing Guests the Racing GigToni mushing sled on snow, Mike riding, six dog teamToni talking to scouts about sleds

2 Toni Talking to Guests

Ms. Toni Oliveira came to live with us for the September 2009--April 2010 running season... proving to be our best "MIT" yet.  That's Musher-In-Training for those who have a need to know--dogsledding talk we made up.  She learned many skills so quickly... and the dogs just love her.  Especially Thunder--  who is Toni's favorite canine as well.  Toni worked for two recent summers as an interpretive guide at Denali National Park in Alaska, along with doing many other interesting things such as owning a hike/kayak tour business and teaching.  She freelances in graphic design as well... not to mention being the Mom of an adult videographer daughter.  We are so glad Toni joined us!  (Plus she makes a mean fresh apple-turnover.  No, you can't have her!)  These photos show Toni mushing Sleddogs-In-Training ("SIT") as Mike rides along (also sitting,) and showing guests how various mushing equipment works.   

                 

******************************************************************************

 

Shaina and MelissaShaina and Melissa standing

Ms Melissa Durst contacted us to ask if she could volunteer during her college break from Salisbury Univ.  She worked at the zoo there and wanted to continue to learn about animals, etc.  She grew up nearby, and still continues to come by and help the pups sometimes.  But she's now working full-time at a big-city Zoo!   Here she is with a neighbor -- Melissa is on the right.  On the left is S. Custer who enjoyed helping us for several years in exchange for learning how to mush, the joy of being with our dogs and gifts to her and her household.  Linda outfitted her with race dogs and fees so she could experience sprint racing with Husky Power teams too. 

 

******************************************************************************

 

Jake and team mushing touriJake hooking dogs to the lineMr. Jake Villwock volunteered with Husky Power to experience mushing and learn about the sport after he graduated from college.  He loved it so much he ended up heading to Alaska for a season to volunteer with Muzzy's Place near Fairbanks.  He's a natural musher and smitten by the bug and has a Husky of his own, "RasKo," and adopted "Bandit" from us. We'll root for Jake racing in the Yukon Quest in the future... after he builds his own kennel.  For the spring season 2009, Jake re-joined us and mushed teams along with Mike and Linda.  We wish him well in pursuit of the mushing dream.   

Jake showing his muscles   Jake mushing in AK with sled and four dogs   Jake talking to guests about equipment

 

***************************************************************************

 

Christine and ZoomerChristine and Rosie

 

Miss Christine Carpenter is a teen neighbor who continues to volunteer with Husky Power whenever she can.  Christine came along with her younger sister for a Scout tour and just had to keep coming back!  She spends quality time with the dogs and helps water and brush and especially loves to help hand out those newly-earned scout merit badges during tours! 

 

 

***************************************************************************

 

The Walkers, Brynn and Scott, are eager and energetic dog handlers. These guys come often to help with tours and play with the dogs... they are good at harnessing and bringing the very strong and ultra-crazy-to-run-BEASTS down to the gangline (not an easy job.)  Pretty soon they will let us pay them!  Brynn is a professional masseuse, and Scott works for the school system of Garrett County.  We have become fast and furious friends-- but not sure if they like the dogs or us better!   (The pups sure like them too!)

Scott Walker       Brynn Walker watching team on atv

 

 

Husky Power Dogsledding

Copyright © 2004-2012 Mountain Maryland Kennels, LLC. All rights reserved.
Site design by: AAD-INC