Yukon Quest

You may have noticed that it has been a while since I posted a review.  This delay is a result of three things:

1. I’ve been sick as a dog for the past three days.  Make up your mind Florida!  Either Winter or Spring; you can’t continue to have both every week.

2. I beta read a novel for a sweet friend, and I can’t wait for her novel to eventually hit the shelves.

3. And lastly, I have been glued to my Twitter and Facebook watching the running of the Yukon Quest!

So for those who do not know, and haven’t had to listen to me gush about my new interest like poor Mike, the Yukon Quest is an international dog sled race that is run from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska.  The website provides this description, “The Yukon Quest Trail follows historical Gold Rush and mail delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century. Once the transportation “highways” of the Northern frontier, the Yukon Quest Trail now comes alive each February with the frosty breath and haunting howls of hundreds of sled dogs. Up to 50 dog teams consisting of one human ‘musher’ and 14 canine athletes tread across some of the last pristine wilderness remaining in North America.”

Ryne Olson arriving at Dusk in Circle.

My interest in dog sledding was sparked years ago by Sue Henry’s Murder on the Yukon Quest, and I decided to follow the race this year.  It started on February 7th and the winner, Brent Sass, crossed the finish line in Fairbanks on February 15th.  I am amazed that these mushers choose to live in the extreme cold, it was -50 degrees at the start of the race, and that they seem to enjoy every minute spent traversing the snowy landscape between checkpoints with their dogs.  I did my best to immerse myself in the race culture from my couch in Florida, and I would be jumping to participate next year if I wasn’t such a weeny when it comes to the cold!  The finish between Brent Sass and Allen Moore was a close one and I was one of many glued to the live tracker feed in the late hours on Monday.

Ed Hopkins’ dog at a checkpoint rest.

But my new found appreciation of dog sled racing is more than just the thrill of the race.  I am impressed by the community.  I like how friendly everyone seems, how so many people volunteer their time at the checkpoints, and how these people truly love what they do.  They adore their dogs and everyone, including the pups, are all smiles upon arriving at a checkpoint.  It is just refreshing in our world of professional athletes worth millions to find athletes who do something just because they love it.  Yes these mushers race with the best sleds available, and yes many run large dog kennels, but these people really love what they do.  Take some time  and browse the links below.  Watch some videos and listen to their encounters with wild life, watch them interact with their pups, and sing and dance!

Brent Sass at the finish line with two of his lead dogs!




Brent Sass may have crossed the finish line but the race is still going!  Take the time to check out the mushers and look forward to more posts coming in the next month about the Iditarod.  (All photos are from the Yukon Quest Facebook page)