New! Bed & Sled/Hostel for your adventure stay!
Advanced Women's Winter Adventures 2018
Book your Dates Now!
These adventures are for those who have attended one of our adventures in past. These will be cabin to cabin dog mushing adventures! You'll be traveling on trails you have traveled before and some brand new ones including a scenic run down Tom Lake. Please contact us directly for information on this adventure. Click here for a gear list for this adventure.
Women's Winter Adventures 2018
February 8th - February 11th
This off-grid adventure is for those who want to actively participate in every aspect of their experience with the highlight being learning to run your own small team of sled dogs on miles and miles of beautiful trails in the remote wilderness of northern Minnesota. Step by step instruction is provided and there is an atmosphere of encouragement, support and team work. A lot goes into an off-grid, solar-powered lifestyle with sled dogs in a remote location and you will get to experience most aspects of it during your stay. In addition, if you have any energy left, there are numerous other activities available to you that include snow shoeing and cross country skiing. (Please bring your own equipment.) This adventure is limited to SIX participants so that each receives the maximum in hands-on experience and one-on-one instruction. Please CLICK HERE for more details on this adventure.
The Points Unknown adventure trips are all educationally based. You won't get a dog sled ride, you'll learn how to mush a small team of our sled dogs. You won't be led through the wilderness by a guide, you'll learn how to do your own navigation with a map and compass. The wilderness survival skills you learn will help build self-confidence and enhance your future experiences, be it on a trek into the wilderness, on a leisurely hike around one of your local parks or in the adventures of your every day life.
Our adventures are for those who want to be actively engaged with a more simple life in the woods; for those who want to be involved in every aspect of the adventure offered. Click here for a gear list for this adventure.
Women's Dog Sledding: Writing the Experience 2018
You’ll be immersed in the off-grid lifestyle of a female dog musher in the awe-inspiring remote north woods, as you learn to run your own small team of traditional sled dogs, then guided in reflection and journaling on your experience. Join Linda Newman, owner and dog musher of Points Unknown and Mary Ellen Ashcroft, writer and teacher of Windcradle, as they offer a limit of SIX women, an adventure like no other. This is an active experience for the body, inspiring creativity for the mind, that also nourishes the soul. Please CONTACT US for more information.
Points Unknown holds six things truly important to its mission.
- Relationship with Dogs
- Learning and Self Discovery
- Wilderness Appreciation
- Excellent Meals
It's our hope that those attending a Points Unknown adventure will leave having found all of the following:
- New Friends
- An Invigorated Spirit
- New Winter Survival Knowledge
- A Deeper Love for the Outdoors
- A New Love and Understanding of Sled Dogs
Points Unknown has a smoke-free and drug-free environment. No smoking or use of illegal drugs is allowed in the buildings or on the property. Alcohol and learning and working with our dogs don't mix. You are welcome to bring a bottle of your favorite alcoholic beverage to share for evenings in the cabin, however, alcohol at any other time and excessive and/or irresponsible use of alcohol is not permitted.
About the Instructors
Linda grew up all over the United States in a U.S. Forest Service family. The wilderness has always been a driving force in her life. Linda had a dog all through her childhood but didn't find her true passion for them until the 1990s. Linda has been training dogs since 1994. She got her first sled dogs in 2000 and thus began her sled dog training. She came from a background of Australian Shepherds, obedience and agility training. What a shock the sled dogs provided! No more "what can I do for you, how much and how long?" More like "Right. I'm not doing that until I get what I want. Then I will decide what you get and when." She loved them nonetheless and together, they do some extraordinary things and she wants to share that with others.
Linda's dream of a career that included her passion for the outdoors and her love and respect for her canine companions became a reality in early 2005 when she started Points Unknown. Points Unknown was contracted to provide dog mushing adventures at a popular northern Minnesota Lodge in Grand Marais, MN, USA in the winters of 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 and Linda headed up this program, creating a number of different dog sledding adventures and experiences for their guests. She is currently a DNR Becoming an Outdoors Women program instructor, and is giving dog mushing instruction at her homestead in Hovland and providing demonstrations at local events.
Neil was born and raised in England and has recently retired from the Royal Army Medical Corps of the British Army. Having traveled to many parts of the world, he now favors the remoteness of the northwoods. His time is now divided as a director of a medical company in England and a working with Points Unknown with his wife Linda. Neil and Linda were married in December of 2011!
He has been with us here at Points Unknown since 2008 and brings experience in leadership, navigation and first aid and is proving to have what it takes to live in the wilderness and work with our dogs.
Some of Neil’s other pastimes include kayaking, canoeing, skiing, snowshoeing and cycling. He is very mechanically inclined and puts that skill to work making improvements to some of our equipment that includes wonderful updates to our fall training rig! He has now mastered the art of collecting up dog poop, a skill all good mushers must possess!
Hailey was born and raised in Minneapolis, and is attending Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. She has lived around animals her whole like and her family currently has a dog (Cardigan Welsh Corgi), cat, parrot, and guinea pig. Her love for the outdoors began at a young age, traveling to her grandparents cabin in Wisconsin and being taught about the woods and how to fish by her father and grandfather. Hailey’s passion for the outdoors has only grown as time wears on and she spends as much of her summers as possible in northern Minnesota on canoeing and backpacking trips.
Hailey met Linda in August of 2005, and has been addicted to sled dogs and volunteering for Points Unknown ever since. On weekends in which school projects and essays are absent she can be found visiting Points Unknown, Linda, Neil and the sled dogs, doing whatever chores need to be done. She is an enormous asset to the kennel. Not only that, but the dogs have helped her to realize more about herself and the world around her, and now she wishes to share her knowledge and passions with others. Hailey was a full-time handler/guide in the winter of 2013-2014 and now, returns to help handle the dogs and to guide from time to time and as needed.
Lee Ann Swenson
Lee Ann comes by her deep love of the wilderness through her Northern Minnesota heritage and over a decade of Canadian living. After corporate burn-out and frustration, Lee Ann "bought the farm" and now lives in Northern New Jersey, enjoying a second career fueled by medical writing and transitioning into a sustainable working farm lifestyle. With her eye on this new direction, Lee Ann has completed courses in advanced cheese making, French cheeses, and artisanal bread. Lee Ann has also won several awards for her preserves, which she will include in her cooking on our Beginner Adventure. Lee Ann has a deep connection with animals and currently her pack includes 4 sled dogs, 3 horses, 2 goats, 17 chickens, 3 cats, and a parrot. Her expertise in manure management makes her ideally suited as one of our dog handlers. In addition, Lee Ann has attended several Points Unknown adventures since 2007, including the exciting "Run your own Iditarod" event in 2009. Over the years, Linda Newman has been one of Lee Ann's primary dog sledding mentors and teachers. Building upon her love of these dogs, Lee Ann has recently begun to spin "Sled Dog Chiengora" yarn for her knitting to add a new dimension to their farm. Beyond dog sledding, skijoring, and cooking, Lee Ann is an avid equestrian who successfully competes in hunter/jumper events. Lee Ann returns to Points Unknown from time to time to help handle the dogs and to cook for the beginner adventures.