Dog Sled Races in the North

For those of you unable to pick up the latest edition of the newspaper from the Northwest Territories.  The following is a piece coming out this week.–

Luck would have it, employment provided some time to be spent in Fort Resolution a few days prior to the K’AMBA Carnival Dog Races (March 22-23rd).  As has been the case since relocating to The North/Arctic of Canada, Fort Resolution offered up the latest great experience.
To not know Dog Sled races were being held in Fort Resolution, one would need to be completely devoid of hearing or six feet under.
The shear volume of yelping, crying and howling was a site to be heard.   And so began my introduction to dog sled racing.  Two possible conclusions came to mind while strolling around the starting line, observing these furry little athletes ready for take off.  All the K9 chatter amounted to “trash talking” between teams or more simply, these dogs were absent any social graces. Built to run, end of story.
Apart from the sheer amount of sounds emanating from this afternoon’s gathering, the size of the racers continued today’s series of the unexpected.  As someone never around a dog sled race, the expectation is that of a slightly bigger animal, one resembling a husky.  Rather these fine tuned animals were sleek, short haired and came in various shapes and colors.

Just as it would seem dog sled races are equal opportunity events for the ones providing the pulling power, so to do they provide an equal opportunity event for the Mushers.  Not often do you come across an event NOT divided between male and females.  Dog Sled racing is truly an open competition, how novel.

As a spectator, the only drawback comes from not being able to view the entire 22 mile race unless a ride can be had with one of the locals who trails the race by snowmobile.  Perhaps an enterprising person(s) could find a way of entertaining the crowds while they wait.  Approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes passes, the teams can be seen off in the distance making their way home.  Ears, legs and tongues flaying about in all manner of direction, yet,  with 22 miles traveled, the little balls of energy are still keeping a strong pace.  In an almost poetic symbol of time passing, a physical change comes into focus as team draw near.  Each one of our contestants now wears a well earned white beard, formed not from decades of aging but from some long term heavy breathing.

The races comes to a close for the day, a distinct difference has spread over the place from wench the race began.  An almost utter silence now overwhelms.  Today’s athletes are spent, eating and lounging about.  The only interruption to the silence of exhaustion is heard as the riders share tales of their Saturday afternoon trip on The Great Slave Lake


2 responses to “Dog Sled Races in the North

  1. The images along with the words tell a interesting story while giving great insight as to what takes place during such a unique event for us who reside in the far south of the country.

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