So what to do after the race? If you’ve looked closely, you may have seen the dogs have booties covering their feet. Those need to come off, and then there is a chance to get a rub down and meet the crowd. For the two-legged participants, there were burgers and brews.
The place where I set up to make photos allowed me to get some nice shots as the sled dog teams came in from the woods. The sprint group of racers returned in well under an hour, the mid-distance group took closer to two hours. Once each team crossed the finish line and was moved out of the way a bit, they received the snack shown in last night’s photo and got to visit with the spectators. More on that tomorrow night.
It was amazing to watch this event. There were two classes of competition, distance and sprint. In each class, the teams went out in two-minute intervals. I started out at the gate area but the background was a bit busy, so I hiked out beyond the first turn as it lent itself to some good shots.
At one point, a dog who had been held back got loose. These dogs are bred and trained to run and this one started off down the course. There was no calling it back. This is serious, because the dog does not know the area and could get lost or hurt. They were getting a snowmobile ready to chase after the dog, when they spotted me down the course. Suddenly, I heard shouts of “Catch him; catch the dog”. He rounded the corner and was making his way along the track as I stepped up and grabbed his harness. As he came to a halt, I heard his owner shout “My hero!”
Friday as I wondered where to make photos this weekend, I saw that if I woke up at 4:30 AM, I could make it up beyond the White Mountains in time for Day 2 of the Great North Woods Dogsled Challenge. While I’d seen dogsleds on vehicles and met a couple of sled dogs, I’ve never been to such an event. Here are some views of the pre-race activities.