This post was written as a request to be shared on Taiga Trekkers blog. Please check out the Blog(http://taigatots.blogspot.com/)to see what's going on with our wonderful Anchorage little ones...
Throughout my life l have always felt the need to move objects with my own devices whether it be homemade or altered. In the past I have needed to move myself, supplies or even an outhouse from here to there with only simple contraptions. For most people a backpack would be ok but for me it lacks the space needed to bring along mass quantities of unneeded but possibly necessary items. All of my past research and development has allowed me to now use my children as test subjects for current and future carrying devices. We test ones that have been picked up along the way like wheelbarrows, a kayak, sleds and a wheelchair, seeing what cool things can be pushed or pulled in them. This is how Hazel’s sled was developed and has evolved over the past year and a half.
The sled started out originally as a poor mans kick sled that my father in law and I built just for something to do one winter. I salvaged a whole bunch of wooden skis from a gym teacher who was happy to see them go. By the way I love free stuff, especially wood and metal. I’ve made all kinds of things out of the skis like coat racks, pivoting light switches, fish bats and a ski-bow (looks cool but lacks any punch).
The kick sled was a flop so when Hazel arrived I started making her toys to help her get around and work on balance. I figured I could also make Hazel a basic sled out of salvaged wood, rope and wooden skis that wouldn’t be too much of an eye sore and would serve it’s purpose as a kid hauler.
The first winter it worked pretty good and even kept Hazel warm as she was bundled up in cozy snow gear and tucked in-between many blankets allowing for longer outings. By the second winter Hazel was almost two and the sled needed more space for her new long legs and baby brother Cahill. Hazel came up with some design ideas as well as mapped some trails she’d like to try. I was able to modify the sled per her instructions by extending the skis on the back, adding some thick plastic strips to the base of the skis (no more waxing), a rear platform with some traction and a handle bar for that true mushing experience. Again the sled worked pretty good, needing a few tweaks here and there but everyone was happy. The sled allows for two kids to ride comfortably, we haven’t done much of that with Cahill just turning 5 months recently but next season we’re ready for him. It also allows Hazel to hold on and look for moose tracks and sticks that she likes to collect and put in the sled. She even uses correct mushing terminology that I’m able to understand “Daddy Mush”.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we need to go back to the drawing board for a few modifications next year but that’s part of the fun. We still use the Chariot and the three-wheel bike but for sure more fun and smiles are had with the homemade sled.