Monday, January 28, 2008

Mush-- its not just for breakfast anymore!

Sunday we went north to Duluth to see the start of the three-day, 411 mile long John Beargrease Sled dog Marathon starting in Duluth and running three days to Grand Portage, Minnesota and back. This was the 25th running of the race (they had to cancel last year for the 1st time due to lack of snow.) The race honors the memory and spirit of Ojibwe native John Beargrease, who with his brothers was the winter mail carrier (by dog sled & row boat) between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, Minnesota during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. He was the link to the outside world to the settlements along the north shore of Lake Superior.

We were especially excited to see the dogs and the mushers, some of whom will be competing at the Iditerod in March. There were sledders from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Ireland and Finland. We saw many Siberian Huskies that resembled our Pashka so closely. We found out listening to the announcer--who had been a musher for 45 years--that the breed of Siberian came from crossing wolves with the Spitz breed. Not all dogs were pure Husky but various mixes of hounds with Alaskan Huskies.

The dogs are very eager to get going when they see the ropes and harness equipment appear. Lots of jumping and yapping!

This fashionable dog could have been our Pashka about 12 years ago; same markings and same beautiful face.

The new generation of lightweight sleds.

Flags flew for the U.S. Austrailia, Canada, Finland and Ireland. The temp was in the mid-30's with plenty of sunshine and snow.

'Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.' - Milan Kundera


Marianne said...

To the quote... yes, indeed.

What a wonderful time you must have had! It's always a good day when you get to be around good dogs :^) Those are some real beauties too.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Great post this.. Those dog really do seem up for the work ahead, it's in their breeding and it's what they do...
I agree with that quote as well. I have sat on many a hillside with one or other of my dogs. Each one is sadly missed. I would sit there so contented just looking at the views and taking it all in.

Julie Schuler said...

Those are beautiful dogs! And more useful than many people I know. Still, I am a cat person. They are so wicked and cantankerous, and that's what I like about them.

Julie Marie said...

What Minnesotans don't think up to have fun in the winter! LOL!