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Category Archives: Sled Dog

This weekend is the CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race in Calumet, Michigan. It is a great race to watch in an area that also offers some outstanding cross country skiing. More photos of the CopperDog 150 can be found on my website.

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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.

We had gone skiing and were a little late arriving and most of the dogs had been fed and put back in their houses until the start of the race.

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The race officials were checking the bags and the mushers were starting to get their sleds hooked up.

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At the start of the race some dogs are a little more excited than others.

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We watched the first tier of dogs start off and then walked around and watched the volunteers bring the sleds to the start line.

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

As winter arrived I started thinking of places and events that I wanted to photograph this winter. The events and bird photography require a little more planning than the Landscape Photography locations.

Apostle Islands Ice Caves

Without a doubt the top of my list is the Apostle Islands Ice caves. I discovered them in 2007 and have photographed them every year they have been open. When I first started photographing them I was frequently the only person on the ice that day. What a difference social media makes. This past winter well over a hundred thousand people visited the caves in-spite of the bitterly cold winter. Given the temperatures we have been seeing so far this winter I would expect the ice caves will open again in February. If you haven’t been you should make the trip.

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The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race

The Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race will be taking place on February 7th and 8th. This is really a fun family event and one of the better sled dog races from a viewers point of view. It is possible to get up close to the dogs at the start of the races. Since it is an out and back race you can also stick around and watch the mushers return. They also have different levels of races from professionals to kids.

Off and Racing

Off and Racing

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If you are really lucky, like we were last year, the Apostle Island Ice Caves will be open that weekend. You also may also be able to drive out to Madeline Island on the ice road while you are in the area.

Bond Falls

Although Bond falls is best known as a fall destination for photographers it provides some exceptional photography in the winter. There are not many waterfalls that are all that interesting to photograph in the winter. Bond Falls in the U.P. of Michigan is an exception. Most waterfalls in the Upper-Midwest are frozen in the winter. If there has been fresh snow they look like all of the other scenery. Bond falls is just below a dam it has water flowing all winter regardless of how cold it is. The flowing water combined with some interesting ice formations makes this one of my favorite winter photography locations.

Bond Falls

Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Ice Bond Falls

Mississippi River

During the winter we make a number of trips over to the Mississippi River looking for eagles. Our first stop is usually Alma, Wisconsin where eagles hang out around the lock and dam. The National Eagle Center provides a weekly report of eagles seen along this section of the Mississippi River. They also provide eagle watching tours.

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We then drive north to Reads Landing, Minnesota. We commonly see 30+ eagles in front of the Reads Landing Brewing Company. You can stop in the Brewery and watch the eagles in comfort while having lunch.

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Our last stop is usually  in Colvill Park  Redwing, Minnesota where the eagles hang out near the open water below the power plant. The catch to watching eagles in the winter is the best time to find them gathered in large numbers is when there is a bitterly cold stretch of weather. This causes the Mississippi to freeze up and reduces access to open water.

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Canadian Hill Farm

I can usually find something to photograph on the farm during the winter but most of my time is spent photographing birds during snow storms. There is nothing like hunkering down in the house with a roaring fire in the fireplace while sitting in my rocking chair and photographing birds.

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Northern Cardinal male

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Northern Cardinal

Hudson, Wisconsin

Hudson is a great place to watch Trumpeter Swans during the winter. With the successful reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans into the Midwest watching and photographing them has become a year around event. Trumpeter Swans don’t migrate in the winter they just move to the nearest open water. There is a small patch of open water in Hudson where they congregate in large numbers during the winter months. It is easy to get up close and photograph them.

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Hudson is also where the Hudson Hot Air Affair is held every February. This is one of the few hot air balloon rallies in the area. It is well worth the trip to watch the inflation and flight of the balloons.

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Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls State Park is a favorite stopping point during the winter. Although in very cold weather the Amnicon River usually freezes there are times when I can find open water. The tannin tainted water car result in some colorful photos.

Amnicon Falls

Amnicon Falls

Horton Covered Bridge

Horton Covered Bridge

Red Cedar State Trail

In the winter most of the Red Cedar State Trail is a cross country ski trail so in order to photograph it you have to be willing to cross country ski. There are some beautiful ice walls along the trail at the 1.5 mile mark. These are the result of water seepage through limestone rock.

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On cold days the trees along the trail can be covered in heavy frost.

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Frost

The southern portion of the trail is a walking trail in the winter and on a sunny day I like to photograph the Dunnville Stone in the late afternoon light.

Dunnville Sandstone

Dunnville Sandstone

Grand Marais, Minnesota

I like to make the trip to Grand Marais at least once every winter. I’m never quite sure what I’ll find. On one trip there were high waves washing over the breakwater and lighthouses.

West Breakwater Light

West Breakwater Light

At other times I love to take intimate shots of the ice formations that are formed when the water washes over the breakwater and then freezes into beautiful patterns.

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Devil’s Punchbowl

I like to photograph at Devil’s Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin in the winter. Water seeping through limestone rocks creates a massive ice wall in the bowl. There are also opportunities to photograph objects frozen in the ice.

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Devil’s Punchbowl

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The next morning we had an early breakfast and heard to Eagle Harbor to watch the start of stage two of the CopperDog. It was a beautiful clear cold day. Again the temperatures were below zero. A great day for the dogs but cold for the spectators.CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race 14-3-_0284

When we arrived the mushers were getting ready for the day’s events. The dogs had been fed and they were out of their houses. On the second day the number of dog teams was smaller since only those doing the full CopperDog 150 were racing.CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race 14-3-_0216

As we walked to the starting line I noticed someone was using a drone with a GoPro camera attached. It was the same couple I had noticed the night before using a GoPro to film the race. They had all sorts of cameras and camera mounts to give them the best chance to catch the events from the best angle. I suspect this will not be the last time I see GoPros and drones since they are starting to become popular.CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race 14-3-_0221

We walked around watching the mushers get their teams ready for the race.CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race 14-3-_0261

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Since there was a much smaller crowd for the start of the second leg we were able to move about freely taking photos and watching the progress of the race.CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race 14-3-_0262

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More photos from the CopperDog 150 can be found on my website.

On Friday Afternoon we headed up to Calumet, Michigan to watch the CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race and to so some cross country skiing at the Swedetown Ski trails. This year there were over 40 teams involved in the two races. The trip took a little longer than expected. The roads in our area as still covered with an inch of ice and some of the main roads had icy patches on them.CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0491

We arrived just in time to get our cold weather gear on and head over to the start of the race. The first stage of the CopperDog is run at night and involves teams racing all three stages as well as teams racing the CopperDog 40 which is the first stage of the race. While my wife, first photo, was intimated by the very cold conditions apparently not everyone else was.CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0436

CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0429Before the race we like to walk around and watch the mushers get their teams ready for the race. This involves getting the dogs out and feeding them. Once they are fed they are put back into their houses until race time. I was watching one racer chop up frozen meat to heat up. It makes something like s soup for the dogs. All of the dogs were attached to a single chain along the side of the truck when one end of the chain came loose and all of the dogs ran down to the next truck to visit. It took the mushers a while to get them untangled.CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0433

The CopperDog is run on 150 snowmobile trails in the Keweenaw. Just before the race starts a team of snowmobilers head out onto the trail to make sure the trails are clear and signs are posted to watch out for sled dog teams. It is also necessary to make sure the sled dog teams safely cross the roads.CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0451

The start of the race takes place on the main street of Calumet. The day before the race they bring in snow and cover the street with snow. This year it wasn’t a problem getting snow since they have had almost 300 inches.

We took up a position right across from the announcers booth where the race starts. When the teams arrive at the starting line the dogs are out on the course and the sled is held at the starting gate. The sled is then hooked at the starting gate so the dogs can’t take off. Since the dogs are raring to go the sled can spend some time in the air as the dogs try to head out onto the course. In addition to being cold it was also snowing. It takes a lot of volunteers to make a sled dog race happen and sometimes the dogs are a handful in their exuberance to get out onto the course.CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0488

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We watched about half of the race from the starting line but then started to get cold feet standing for over an hour so we decided to get a hot drink and walk around watching some of the preparation activities. Some of the dogs were still waiting to get hooked up while others were already on the course.CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0502

This is a volunteer trying to hold an exuberant dog back before they headed to the start of the race. In the background you can see a dog with a red light on its harness. Most of the lead dogs have lights so the musher can keep track of where the dogs are.CopperDog-150-Sled-Dog-Race-14-3-_0542

After the start of the first stage of the race we headed back to the motel for a hot meal. More Photos from the Race can be found on my website.

When we reached the races the first thing we noticed was the small number of racers. Normally there are about 60 sleds in the race but this year the number was down to about half that. I’m not sure of the reason although it has been a bitterly cold winter.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0336

Every race requires a large number of volunteers to get the sled dog teams to the start line. In the first shot the race officials were giving the volunteers instructions on how to work with the mushers to get the team to the start line.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0017

In this shot officials were showing how to attach the anchor for the sled. As each team arrives at the start line an anchor is attached so the team cannot talk off before the start time. When the team is ready to go the anchor is handed to the musher.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0018

We wandered around the area taking photos of the teams as they were getting ready for the race. I photographed from a pile of sand while some of the 8 team sled dogs took off. At this point there seems to be complete chaos but in reality a sled dog race is a highly choreographed event.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0031

My next photography location was at the start area where I photographed some of the teams being brought to the start line. Note the number of volunteers required to bring a team to the starting line.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0063

There were a large number of spectators near the start area but during the short break in the race while the next category of racers were preparing and most of the spectators left the area and didn’t return. I suspect they all went down to the ice caves which were accessible for the first time in 5 years.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0069

I moved down the race course to get some photos of the spectators and teams as then came flying by. One of the things I notices was that the snow was really coming down in large flakes and it made it very difficult to focus the camera.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0114

After another short break before the next category of racers I moved closer to the start line to help prevent my camera from searching for focus in the heavy snowfall. It also gave me a little different perspective on the race.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0328

At the end of the race there were some younger racers. The youngest was 7 years old and he had two dogs hooked up to his sled. His mother followed on the next sled. That seemed to be the pattern for the younger racers. They were all followed out into the course by the mother.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0358

With fewer racers participating we were able to head to Bayfield for lunch by late morning. After a lunch in Bayfield we returned to the race to watch some of the racers return to the starting line. Usually all of the dog teams that come in are dragging but some seem to still have a lot on energy. On racer said it was tough going because the trail was a little soft with the fresh snow. It snowed for most of the race.Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-14-2-_0447

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

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I keep a spreadsheet listing the events I might want to go attend. This past weekend was a big weekend on my list. the options were the Hudson Hot Air Affair, Michigan IceFest and the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race. This year my wife and I chose the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race. Our last visit to this event was in 2011.

Lake-Superior-13-2_0387bWe planned on driving over to the race from Duluth. We rose early and found that it had snowed overnight in spite of a temperature of -9 degrees. We headed out around 7:30 because we wanted to arrive before the race started and soak up some of the excitement generated by the dogs. On the drive over to the race there were some spectacular views of Lake Superior with sunshine on the lake and lake effect snow clouds in the background. The roads were covered with a little lake effect snow and it was snowing along the lake.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0405When we arrived at the race the temperature was a balmy 6 degrees with sunshine. The starting point of the race is in a gravel pit about 10 miles east of Cornucopia. The gravel pit offers a good place to park for all of the mushers, volunteers and observers. It also provides ample space for a staging area as the mushers attach the dogs to their sleds.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0101We arrived about a half hour before the start of the race so we had ample time to walk around and watch the mushers getting ready for the race and listen to the growing excitement of the dogs as the start of the race approached. This year there were over 60 dog teams participating in the various classes.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0431This is a great race to watch because there are so many sled dog teams with various categories from the serious racers to family and youth racers. The crowd is usually small enough that there are plenty of opportunities to observe the race from all sorts of advantage points.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0433I photographed for a while at the starting gate and then worked my way down the race course to photograph the teams from various vantage points along the course.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0751Toward the end of the race I returned to the starting gate to photograph some of the younger racers as they started the race.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0800One can’t say enough about the volunteers. Without them the race could not take place. For the larger teams it takes 4 or 5 volunteers to get the dogs to the starting line and try and keep them calm before they are off and running.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0308Volunteers will be seen in most of the photos because they are such an integral part of the race. More than a few of them took spills trying to get the dogs to the starting line.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0234The din at the start of the race is so loud that you literally can hear the person next to you. Most of the dogs are frantic as they reach the starting line. I particularly like the dogs with blue eyes because they show the intensity just before the start the race.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0250There are a few teams that are really calm. This team was so relaxed that they seemed to be caught off guard when the signal to go was given. They almost fell over one another trying to get started.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0624One nice thing about this race is that it is an out and back race. So the racers finish at the same place they started. After all of the racers head out onto the course and watch the teams on the course. We did that on our previous visit but this trip we decided to head into Bayfield for some lunch and a little shopping.

Madeline-Island-Windsled-13-2_0024We stopped at the Pickled Herring for some lunch and to check into our motel. They had my favorite meal, chili. I noticed as we walked up to the restaurant that the ferries to Madeline Island were not running and that the Ice road was closed. That could only mean one thing, the windsleds were running. Sure enough our waitress said the windsleds started today. This was something I always wanted to see and photograph. As we had lunch we saw the sled head out to Madeline Island.

Madeline-Island-13-2_0010After lunch we walked down to see check on the sled schedule. On the weekends the schedule is reduced. The last one of the day was at 4:30 and we didn’t think we would be back in time to watch it so I added it to my list of things to do in the morning.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0790We then headed back out to the sled dog race. We wanted to watch a few of the dog teams finish the race. In contrast to the raucous sounds at the start of the race all is quiet as the dogs return to the finish line. Fortunately it was cold so the dogs seemed to be in good shape at the finish. On an earlier visit it was so warm that the dogs were exhausted at the end of the race.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0775As we watched the returning mushers my wife notice a couple of people that looked familiar, It’s hard to recognize people  when they are bundled up for the cold. It turned out to be some old friends from Menomonie that are now living in Cornucopia. We chatted with them as we watched the mushers finish.

Lake-Superior-13-2_0836Later in the afternoon we drove down to Meyers Beach to check and see if the Apostle Island Ice Caves were open. They were not open but there were tracks out onto the lake where some adventurous individuals took the risk to walk out onto the ice. Our friends said that people had been walking out to the caves for a couple of weeks in spite of the warnings at Meyers Beach that the ice was not safe. The National Park Service requires that the ice be stable for several weeks before they give the ok to go on the ice. On a previous visit I met several people from the park service checking the thickness of the ice. They were using sounding equipment to check it. We decided to hike the bluff trail and wait for the NPS to certify the ice was safe before our next visit.

Madeline-Island-Windsled-13-2_0043The next morning we had a great breakfast at the Egg Toss Bakery Cafe. Great place for breakfast and their bread is outstanding. After breakfast we walked down to the harbor to watch the windsled arrive from Madeline Island. We then checked out of our motel and headed back out to the sled dog races. We spent most of the morning watching the teams head out. It was -9 degrees and seemed much colder on the second day maybe because the wind was blowing and the sun wasn’t out.

Apostle-Islands-Sled-Dog-Race-13-2_0133A popular spot on both days was the fire pit. As I mentioned the temperature was in the single digits and there was a wind on the second day so everyone was bundled up.

After the race we planned on doing some skiing but since it was so cold out and we had a long drive we decided to skip the skiing and head home to watch the Super Bowl.

There are several hundred pictures on my website from the two day race.

Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_2679As I noted in an earlier post one of the goals this winter is to attend some sled dog races. One of the first races of the season took place last weekend on the Minnesota North Shore. It was a staged race with the first stage starting at Grand Portage and ending at Hungry Jack Lodge. Day two was from Windigo Lodge to Devils Track Landing and the final stage from Grand Marais to Grand Portage. The final leg had to be rerouted because there is almost no snow in Grand Marais. The final leg started at Devils Track Landing.

Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0107 We weren’t sure we were going to take this race in but given the lack of snow for cross country skiing we decided to head up to Grand Marais to watch the first ever Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race. The plan was to drive to Grand Marais on Monday and watch the finish of the second stage of the race at Devils Track Landing. However, when we reached Grand Marais there were strong southeast winds creating huge waves along the coast. We decided to watch the waves instead. More about this in a future blog.

Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0102On Tuesday morning we decided to skip breakfast at the hotel and go down to Sven and Ole’s where the local Lions Club was having a pancake breakfast. We always try to support local events when we have the opportunity. Unfortunately it didn’t look like the breakfast was well attended but we had a great time talking to some friendly folks from Grand Marais. The pancakes were good particularly the blueberry pancakes.

 Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0014After Breakfast we headed out to Devils Track Landing to watch the start of the final stage of the race. When we arrived everyone was just starting to get organized for the day. I was surprised that things were so quiet. Usually at the start of the race the dogs are going nuts. We walked around taking photos of the various teams that would be participating in the race. Three of the teams were from Alaska. As soon as the first dog was put into its harness bedlam broke out. The dogs knew that the race was going to start and they were really excited to get started.

 Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0129Just before the start of the race one of the race officials came by and asked if we were spectators (as opposed to mushers and helpers) and if we were would we be willing to go out onto the lake and forma a line so the dogs would know which way to go. The start of the race was the top of a boat landing heading down to Devils Track Lake and then out onto the lake. Normally they have hay bales set along the start to get the dogs going in the right direction but maybe because of the change in the starting location they didn’t have them on hand. At any rate my wife and I headed out to the lake to help form a line.

 Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0173The line worked fairly well for the first part of the race but then people started gathering in groups to talk and as one racer came down the boat ramp there was too big a gap in the line and the dogs dashed through the gap and headed the wrong direction. The musher quickly got them under control and headed off in the right direction.

Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0134 We watched most of the race from the lake. It was a cold morning, about 15 degrees when we reached the race area. There were lots of ice crystals in the air out on the lake.

Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0219 Toward the end of the race we walked back up to the starting gate to get some photos of teams at the starting gate and the teams being brought to the starting gate. It was interesting watching them bring teams to the gate. It takes quite a few people to get a dog sled team to a starting gate. About 5-9 people were helping with each team. Some teams required more help than others.

Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0196 This was the first time I had seen the use of four wheelers and snowmobiles to help get the dogs to the starting gate. They attached a tow rope from the sled to the snowmobile. This prevented the dogs from just taking off and probably reduced the number of people required to get a team to the starting gate.

 Gichigami-Express-Dog-Sled-Race-2013-1-_0179At the starting gate they had a heavy chain across the snow. It was held in place by pickup trucks that were parked on each end on the chain. The chain was used to anchor the sled once it was at the gate. Each sled carries an anchor that can be used to prevent the dogs from taking off before the start time. Someone stands on the anchor until just before the team starts.

 You can find more photos from the race on my website. There are also some great action photos from the race course on the Gichigami Express website.

Last weekend we made our last trip to the U.P. for this winter. Our primary goal was to get some late winter skiing in but we also planned the trip to coincide with the CopperDog 150 Sled Dog Race. Last winter we watched the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race and we had so much fun that we decided to check out the CopperDog 150.

The CopperDog 150 is a three day event with multiple stages. The first stage started at 7:00 pm on Friday night in Calumet and ended in Eagle Harbor. The second stage started at 9:00 am in Eagle Harbor and ended in Copper Harbor. The last stage took the mushers from Copper Harbor back to Calumet.

There was a large crowed on hand at Calumet for the start of the race. We arrived early and still had a  problem finding a place to park. We ended up watching the start of the race a few blocks from the starting line. First to come down the race course was a group of snow bike racers. They were followed by some snowmobiles carrying race officials. We watched about five mushers start from this vantage point .

We then decided to walk down to the race staging area where the real excitement was taking place. If you have never been to a sled dog race it is bedlam at the start of the race. Once the mushers start to get the dogs out of their trucks most of the dogs become frantic with excitement. They are barking, and jumping and straining at the harness. When they start moving toward the starting line it usually takes  6-8 people to manage the move and even then it is a struggle with some teams. The dogs are so strong that they need to be held back. We watched one team dragging 4 people along as they tried to hold the sled back. Once at the starting gate the musher places two anchors out to hold the sled and someone else usually stands on the sled break all to hold the team back. Others are out holding the dogs. Not every dog team requires as much effort. I’ve seen a few that are led to the starting line and stand waiting for the start but those are the exception.

On Saturday morning we drove up to Eagle Harbor to watch the start of the second leg of the race. There were far fewer people around so it was easier to get a better view of what was taking place. The weather was brutal with heavy snow and strong winds off of the lake. I decided to leave my good camera in the car and rely on my pocket camera.

It is not uncommon for the mushers to have some problems at the start of the race. Some of the dogs are so frantic that they get tangled up in the lines. In a couple of instances the team were about 50 yards down the course and the mushers were frantically trying apply the brakes so they could stop the sled and get the dogs straightened out. Fortunately there were race officials stationed down the course to help hold the sled while the musher got things straightened out. We stayed until all of the teams had left the starting gate.

On Sunday afternoon we drove to Calumet to watch the finish of the race. It was a beautiful sunny day. I photographed a number of teams as they entered town. The dogs were moving right along in spite of having raced for three days.

I then started walking down the course to photograph some of the race fans. This was one of my favorite shots with the kids all lined up at the hot chocolate bar.

Dog sled racing requires a huge number of support people so if you like dogs and want to volunteer at a race I’m sure you would be more than welcome. I think they said there were over 450 people helping to put the race on and this race only had about 30 teams. Most of the surrounding communities had people helping out at the race.

We spent some time watching the teams come in. As you can imagine the dogs were famished when they arrived at the finish line. It was an entirely different scene than at the start of the race. You didn’t hear a single dog bark at the finish line. I would have thought they would be tired by the third leg but a race official said they just as excited on the third start as the first start.

Most of the dogs in the race were Alaskan Huskies which are bread for racing. I initially thought this dog was a Siberian Husky puppy but the owner said it was a miniature Siberian Husky. He was getting a lot of attention from race fans.

We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to watching more dog sled racing.  More photos from the CopperDog 150 can be found on my website.