Dog sledding at Points Unknown

Dog sledding at Points Unknown

Sabrina Ullman hits the trails with Points Unknown to learn about dog sledding.

Although many dog sled races, including the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race, have been canceled this year, there is opportunity for dog sledding in Cook County.

Linda Newman used to be a real estate appraiser in the Twin Cities but now lives a much different life in Hovland as owner of Points Unknown.

“I always loved the outdoors, and I realized that with sled dogs, I could go farther, more silently into the outdoors,” explained Newman. “So I got into sled dogs. Then shortly after that, I discovered the Hedlund huskies.”

The Hedlund Husky is a rare line of Alaskan Husky. Dating back to the 1930s, the breed was developed for traplines.

“You’d have a sled dog team and you’d go from trap to trap, and they were purpose bred to stop and go and stop and go because the the trapper has to get off and dispatch a potentially noisy animal. So the dogs have to know just to stay still and not take off with the sled,” explained Newman. “On the other hand, the racing dogs, they’re purposely bred to go, you know, keep running and running and running for a long distances.”

Points Unknown recently added two new puppies to the family.

“We’ve got a Hedlund Husky preservation project for this rare line of traditional Alaskan husky. You know, with the trap line teams and things, they are so few left. We’ve got the biggest concentration of them here,” said Newman. So I’m always looking for similar dogs to add to the line, and and these guys are half Seppala Siberian and half Chukotka dog.”

Points Unknown offers a variety of different dog sledding adventures so that others can experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

 “People do appreciate it. They come and unplug and and just enjoy the wilderness,” said Newman. “I’ve got a guest suite and two tiny Amish log cabins that folks will come and just use it for home base for adventure and and spend time with the dogs while they’re here. That’s always included. I always say sled dog, cuddles included, because whatever you do in here, even if it’s not dog sledding and it’s in the summer, the dogs are here.”

Points Unknown also offers mindful paddling and hiking in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the summer as well as women’s adventures that are focused on empowerment.