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Monthly Archives: March 2016

On the final day of the race all of the mushers that started the race also completed in this final leg. This is the first time this has happened. Normally only the participants in the full 150 race participate in the final two days.

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It was a windy, snowing and a much cooler day than the previous day. The weather made for some great shots.

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A few folks were dressed for the weather.

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The crowds were much small than they were for the start of the race.

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At the start and finish of the race there is a bag check. All of the teams are required to carry a certain amount of gear in their sleds.

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Not every dog who starts the race finishes the race. If a dog becomes injured or gets tired the musher will put him in the sled and he gets to ride the rest of the race. there were four or five dogs that didn’t make it to the finish of this years race.

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Some of the teams really wanted to keep going. This dog acted like he was at the start of the race rather than the finish.

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End to a long day.

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More photos from the race can be found on my website.

 

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The next morning we drove up to Eagle Harbor where the first stage of the race ended and the second stage would start. There are generally far fewer people around for the start of the second stage so it is much easier to move around and take pictures and to get a better view of the race.

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Only those musher who are participating in the 150 participate in this stage of the race. The remaining mushers move on to Copper Harbor where they will participate in the third stage of the race.

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We had plenty of time to walk aground before the start of the race to watch the mushers getting their teams ready. On the second day the slowest finishers of the first leg start first and the fastest team starts last. This keeps the teams closer together during the race.

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The teams are harnessed and volunteers help get the teams from the staging area to the start line. Sometimes it can be a challenge. I noticed one team got away from the volunteers and started racing toward the start line. It took a number of people to stop the sled team.

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At the start of the race one of the race officials mans the sled while another holds the anchor down. The volunteers also hold the dogs back and try to keep them from getting tangled up. The sleds are anchored so the dogs can’t take off before their scheduled time. During this period the mushers check on their dogs an calm them down.

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Just before the start the musher takes over the sled and the anchor man hands him the anchor.

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Not everyone gets to race. Some of the dogs are left behind. They might be injured or a musher has several teams and only one team is participating in the race

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After watching the start of the second leg of the CopperDog we drove up to Copper Harbor to look around and wait for the finish of the race. We didn’t have to wait long. In spite of the very warm weather, it was in the 40’s, the race was very fast.

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The dogs were soaking wet when they finished the Race. Still a couple of the teams were very interested in continuing to race.

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The finish at Copper Harbor is very small and contested. There is not a lot of good places to photograph. There are also a lot of snowmobiles moving around and they use the same trail as the sled dogs. As you can see there wasn’t much snow on the roads so it was difficult to move the sleds around.

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More photos from the race can be found on my website.

As we have for the last few years we drove up to Calumet at the end of February to do some cross country skiing and to watch the CopperDog Sled Dog Race. Last year we were out skiing and missed some of the preparations for the race. This year it was way too warm to ski so we walked over to the race well before it started. As you can see we were among the first to arrive.

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It was so warm that the street department was hauling in snow so the sleds could make it from the staging area to the to the starting line. The main intersection was about a foot deep in water and slush. It remained a problem throughout the race as mushers and volunteers had trouble navigating through the deep slush.

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We walked around and watched the mushers feed the dogs. Typically they bring them out of the trucks and feed them and then they are put back into their house until they are hooked up to the sled.

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When they are brought out for feeding it’s a good time for the kids to walk around and pet the dogs. A number of the dogs were more interested in getting attention from the kids than they were in eating their pre race meal.

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There is a lot of gear that has to be organized before the race.

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The start of the CopperDog takes place at night. Once the dogs are at the starting line the musher walk through the team and talks to each of the dogs.

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It takes a lot of volunteers to help get the teams from the staging area to the starting line and keep the dogs in line before they start.

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Some dogs are more excited than others. Some of the teams are very calm and others a wild with excitement.

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This spectator was getting a little tired toward the end of the evening.

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More photos from the race can be found on my website.

Spring is definitely here. Today I saw my first Turkey Vulture fly over the farm.

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Another sign of spring the Crocus are blooming.

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A sign of spring I saw my first Song Sparrow today.

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I spend a lot of my time at waterfalls taking intimate photographs of sections of the waterfall. In this case it was mainly the ice formations along the edges of the falls and objects in the river.

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On our way up to Calumet, Michigan we stopped at Bond Falls. Given the warm weather we didn’t expect to see particularly spectacular ice and we didn’t. Nevertheless Bond Falls is worth the visit any time of the year.

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I’ve only visited Crex Meadows in the winter a couple of time. My wife and I drove through Crex the last week in February to see if there was any activity. We did see four pair of Trumpeter Swans. There was very little open water in the flowages but they were already guarding their nesting territory. We also saw a pair of mature Bald Eagles sitting by a nest. With the recent warm weather there should be more activity in the flowages.

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It’s been a bummer of a winter. A couple of weeks ago we were scheduled to get some light flurries several times during the day. As it turned out there wasn’t much to it except several times during the day we has some spectacularly large snowflakes. They were over an inch in diameter and larger than anything I’ve seen on the farm. I grabbed my cameras and started photographing birds during these brief heavy flurries.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

This last photo was taken of the large snowflakes against a background of White Pine trees.

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