One day I woke up and learned, at  62 years old, that my significant other,the love of my life, was having an affair with his ex-wife. I immediately threw him out and cried for one year. Soon after, I visited with friends in Asheville, N.C., who unintentionally told me what I needed to do next.

My friends had gone dog-sledding for a laugh. I looked at the album and was moved. but I did not know why.  I never stopped thinking of the those pictures, or about the feeling that had come over me. I do  know now that  moment started me thinking about a whole lot of things and one of them was: “Am I going to let this man ruin the rest of my life?”  So now it’s 2008, my thoughts were short, and I’m caught between being a lost girl and a woman in control of her life. Who was I anyway?

Time passed very quickly, and I was more and more concerned about getting older and not making any changes in my life. I felt like a roller coaster, a classic one step older and one step closer  to living on borrowed time. Finally, I realized that I could experience new things that tested me and made me feel alive; what they were I was not sure yet.

I started to embrace more of an outdoor life and a new world of exercise, gaining a new sense of feeling physically strong — followed by new thinking, a mental strength that I’d never used before. I started to incorporate boxing into my workout routine and loved it. I cherish the feeling of connecting with something that makes me feel complete, and now a new person was starting to emerge. My 65th birthday was on the horizon, and the pictures of my friends dog sledding were now on my mind all the time: I really wanted to do this!  I proposed this to my family as a gift I wanted to give to everyone and an experience that I wanted all of us to share.

We went to Ely, Minn., where a man by the name of Paul Schurke owns Wintergreen Dogsledding Lodge. Schurke went to the North Pole in 1986, and National Geographic had done a brilliant documentary about the trip called North to the Pole (featuring Anne Bancroft). His lodge has 70 Inuit dogs, which they use for camping and sledding adventures. He gave our crew two sleds, five dogs each, and we did trails for three days — through frozen lakes and woods quite difficult to maneuver. Our guide cross country skied the trail, while we and the dogs followed.

Getting up, feeding and harnessing the dogs at 7:30 a.. part of the journey. Then back to the cabin, for a huge breakfast of carbs and protein to keep you warm during the day. Our guide made the breakfast and lunches, while the dinners were prepared by a retired French chief from La Reserve. The dogs sleep outdoors at all times and are friendly to people but fight among themselves while they are on trail. The weather reached new lows for Ely at -30, but guess what? If you’re really dressed properly, it’s not cold. Our trails went almost entirely through a national preserve, where the sights are beautiful and the air is clear and pure.

The whole experience was thrilling. and the family will talk about this for a very long time. My 11-year-old grandson has decided he really likes the cold and wants to try hunting. I made the right decision to go and have this experience. A very wise role model for me, Dr. Pat  Allen, said the new 60 is this, not 60 looking like 40. I think she is 100 percent correct. This is what the new 60s can look and feel like!

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  • healer September 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    New /\ge Healer here,

    Just wanted to say this post was on point! Keep up the good vvork! See you on the internet 🙂 Oh and are we facebook friends? I thought we were but now I’m not sure…See you around

    Reply
  • Monica August 28, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Dog Sledding at 30 below – Bianca and Sam would both be so proud of you, go Dorene xx

    Reply
  • Catharine Palmer January 28, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Re; Dog Sledding at 30 Below. I just logged into this site for the first time and this is the first article I read. Awesome. I am so impressed. I also need to get off my internet addicted behind, and get out and get going. Loved the article.

    Reply