Ten years ago Caleb Hathaway got a job as a sled dog guide in Winter Park, Colorado where he instantly fell in love with the profession. Wanting to learn more about the sport, he moved to British Columbia then on to Alaska where he began to acquire his own team of dogs. With family in Colorado, he returned and started Monarch Dog Sled Rides right here in Chaffee County. Four years later he has grown the operation to include 30 dogs with the goal of giving his guests a hands on experience where they can learn the history of dog sledding and see how much the dogs love to pull.
The sled dogs all have individual personalities which suit the different roles needed to be cohesive on the team. Caleb explains “It’s like a big classroom of elementary kids, sometimes they bully each other a little bit, but with good leadership they all get along”. Some of the dogs are the “brains” or leaders who are good at listening to commands. They direct the other dogs to follow along. Other dogs have great strength and are positioned towards the back to control the sled with their power. The rest of the team are mixed together depending on who’s getting along that day.