There has been talk of canceling some of the dog races this year because of the light snowfall across the state, but the weather warmed over the past several weeks and dropped heavy snows. I have read that mushing was not invented by the native Alaskans. They adopted it, as they did fiddling – two worthy examples of cultural exchange that have enriched the lives of the Athabascans.
My next door neighbor Anthony has a fine team of dogs and he will be racing in the Sprint this spring. It is a short two day race held on the River right here in Fort Yukon. This is his dog yard. You can see him moving amongst his dogs in the background. He uses the large cauldron in the middle of the yard to cook their food and to melt water for them. We live just two doors down to the left and are grateful to have so many dogs close by. There is no way that wolves or bears are coming near our house!
Anthony lays out the leads. He has watered the team and anchored the sled in the snow with wicked hooks so the dogs don’t bolt away in a flurry of white without him.
Anthony works quickly, running to the urgency of his team as he harnesses each dog.
The Alphas. Like the rest of their team they are lean and short haired. I am mystified by their ability to survive the bitter cold winters we experience here.
They leap and howl to the excitement coursing in their blood. Wild anticipation already has washed away thought of the long hours of boredom that fill much of their days. “C’mon, Anthony! We’re raring to run!