The Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon started on Sunday and goes through Tuesday. The main race is a 300 mile long trek along Northern Minnesota. I believe a majority of it covers sections of the Superior Hiking Trail, but there is a section that goes up into the Boundary Waters area as well. The race ends in Grand Portage, MN. We’ve always wanted to see parts of it in person and since the checkpoints were nearby, we bundled up for the -14 below temps to cheer the teams on for part of the evening.
What I love about watching dogsled teams is how excited the sled dogs are to race. I’m sure the musher is excited too, but with their layers of winter gear, it’s hard to see their facial expressions. The dogs look eager and happy. Some of the younger ones are often tugging in anticipation.
At the checkpoint we visited, the dogs were quiet while pulling the sled along the darkened trail that wove through the woods. Each team had a headlight that we spotted a few minutes before they reached the checkpoint. Often, when the team reached the road, one dog would yip in protest when the sled stopped to wait for volunteers to guide them across the road to their designated spots at the checkpoint. It didn’t take long for a few others to follow. I posted a video of a team waiting to cross the road below.
The last time I saw a dogsled race it was a much shorter one in Menomonie, Wisconsin, nearly twenty years ago. The race went around a park so we could see the dog teams most of the race. A retired gentleman had a team of “old” Siberian huskies (dogs are often retired when they’re around seven-years-old) and took them around the course. When the musher got to the furthest point from the start line, his lead dog laid down and the rest of the team copied her. From where we stood, we watched the man gesture and coax, but his team refused to budge.
Another musher came to the man’s rescue with his dogsled. Apparently, old Siberian huskies need competition because as soon as the new team went by, the old team started to move (just not very quickly). The guy with the Siberian husky team laughed and joked about his dogs going his speed when they crossed the finish line.
The dogs that participate in the Beargrease Marathon are much younger and eager to run (and, yes, there are teams of Siberian huskies). I’ve monitored the progress of the mushers today and they’re making good time because of the firm snow caused by cold temps. I think we’re supposed to get up to two-degrees F today.
One day I might have to write a story about a dogsled team.
Speaking of writing… I submitted a short story last week. This week I plan to continue writing the fantasy story I started last week. It’s a fun story that has me curious about what’s going to happen. I’m expecting my romance novel to return from my copy editor this week. If all goes well, it’ll be up for sale by this weekend.
The other items on my writing list include writing some handouts for my upcoming drawing class, writing a short story for another market, and to add some posts to my art blog (ArtByBrandyW.com).
I hope everyone stays warm and has a great week.