Monday, March 27, 2006

Stampede Trail Stage Race

Morning Everyone!
This past weekend we enjoyed our most fun competition thus far this year- the 150 mile Stampede Trail Stage Race. Our squad consisted of only 11 pooches, Iditarod finishers, while most of the seven other dogteams had 12 fresh dawgs to play with. Dogmushing is more than just what place one comes in or how much money they earn- it's about living LIFE! Greg Parvin, the race marshall, as well as other race volunteers and the local boy scout troop, did a wonderful job not only providing a decent trail but fine accomodations, food and libations as well.
The weather was great, around zero to 10 above with twenty mph winds at times gusting at your back, the shimmering sun reminding us that spring is nearing rapidly.

Heading out of Nome the teams headed due east following the Kougerak mining road into the old goldfields from one hundred years past. We spent most of the race a few minutes behind local favorite Nils Hahn and legendary Eskimo musher Joe Garnie (the man whose dogs were responsible for Libby Riddles harrowing Iditarod victory back in '85). It was an honor to share trail time with these fellas - they're what it's all about- knowledgable folks with kind demeanors that never fail to put a smile on one's face. Also in the field were Mike Jayne, Mike Owens and a few other locals as well- a fun time shared by all. The terrain was rather hilly yet there was nothing too steep, though the ice cold waters of some of the overflow rivers was quite chilly on the feet. That's why I never stop kicking and running- don't want them freezing up again as they did in the Quest this year. This was a mellow race however- 50 mile run, 12 hour break repeated 3 times. Colby and Flame had the kids flying: Nova and Myrtle, Shyela, Sally and Omen, Titan and Blaze, with my main men Mahoosic and Maestro closest to the sled in the wheel position. I could have cared less what position we finished- was just having some more fun in the sun. Amazing what our beloved beasts have accomplished this past season: Sheep Mountain 150, Knik 200, Copper Basin 300, Yukon Quest to Dawson, Iditarod, Stampede Trail and just two more fun sprint races to round out the season. Over 4 thousand miles including training- can't tell ya how often my eyes have moistened staring ahead at these unique creatures that the Great Almighty has created for us to play with, admire and whose company we treasure. For me it's no accident that DOG is GOD spelled backwards.

Finished yeasterday afternoon in 3rd behind Nils and Joe who both plan on competing next year in the Iditarod also. Had a great time with all the folks associated with the race- would highly recommend it to any musher- competitive or not- just get out there and exercise those dogs as well as yourself! As my buddy Lance Mackey always says, " They'll be plenty of time for sleeping when you're dead." Live life to the fullest my friends- it's a treaure, respect it and each other. Speaking of sleep, there were 20 of us crammed into one cabin snoring away early one morning, I could hear one of the scouts on the other side of the room talking in his sleep, " No, but I'm not tired yet." At Laughing Eyes Kennel, neither are we kid, neither are we- the future is wide open and I have a feeling with all of the effort, love and perserverance that has been pouring into this operation over the last few year's that, well... this mountain's just about ready to erupt...

Enjoy the view! Hugh, Tamra and The Laughing Eyes Kennel Crew

1 Comments:

At 3:19 AM , Blogger lisa said...

Wow! We love to read your posts. The way you describe it; we could almost be there with you. Your words are very inspirational; shining a light on how joyful life really can be. Thanks so much. Good luck & keep mushing.

Lisa & Jacob

 

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