This photo doesn't capture how far we walked from our car to the starting line, but it was worth it because we were on our way to the startling line of a sled dog race. Every year I wish we had gotten out to the start of the race, and this year, we finally did.
There was some time before the race to walk around and look at the dogs. They sure did look like the canine version of the marathon runner, thin and light on their feet, full of energy.
Someone offered to take our picture, a rare treat for me to be in a picture. (And to be clear, I only took off my glove because I had just taken a picture myself.)
Here's the first musher coming toward us. I wonder if the mushers like the crowd. On the one hand, it's nice to see people cheering you on and supporting your sport. On the other hand, those dogs are wound up like springs at the start of the race, and I'd think the crowd would only make it worse. It's not uncommon for sleds to tip and for dogs to get tangled at the start of a race. Most of the mushers we saw pass were leaning back hard on their brakes as they made their way through the crowd.
There were 30 mushers staggered apart two minutes at the start. We didn't stay for the whole thing because the wind chill was about 25 below. As we were leaving, a musher from New Zealand was at the start. I guess he moved to the United States to race sled dogs. It's amazing to me how much people love doing this. The dogs, too; you can tell they can't wait to be out running. And we all loved how cute their little doggie boots were. Some of the dogs were wearing jackets, too.
As we were leaving in the car, I picked out my spot for next year, if the race starts at the same place. Some people were in a protected area of forest and had built a wind block out of snow. Smoke from a fire was rising, and it looked like someplace I could sit all day.