Just last week I had heard via Twitter that there would be sled dog races taking place in South Hamilton. Interested in this unique type of event, I made plans with the family to head up and see them.
On Saturday we drove up to South Hamilton for the 9am start of the race, and found a parking spot near one of the spectating points. Catherine became busy in exploring the surrounding area, made friends with some other kids who were building tunnels in the snow, made some snow angels, and took some walks with me while we waited to see the dogs.
We waited for a while, hanging near the volunteers who were getting updates on the progress of the race. It seems that the start of the first race was delayed. We watched as snowmobiles raced back and forth along the track, volunteers groomed and cleared snow, and some cross-country skiers came through. The crowd continued to grow as we waited. At long last (about an hour and a half after we arrived) the first dogs ran past!
The first race was one with which we were unfamiliar, Skijoring. This race is essentially dog-assisted cross-country skiing. I was a bit surprised when they came around the corner and there was no sled. Since that was my only exposure to “sled dog racing,” that’s what I had been expecting. In any case, there were three or four competitors in the race, and they raced out past us and then came back. Some of the dogs raced wildly off the track, while others seemed a bit more controlled.
By the time the Skijorn finished, the girls were getting pretty antsy and cold and hungry, and Rebecca had an appointment to keep, so we sadly had to depart the race. Perhaps next year the race won’t start quite as late, or maybe they could provide text messaging updates on the morning of the race as to when it was actually going to start.
We have many photos from the race in our gallery, including quite a few of Catherine’s adventures along the track.