Dog mushing is not only a mania for many Alaskans...it's even the STATE SPORT !!!
Jumping in their tracks, panting and howling--the beloved mushing dogs simply cannot wait for that glorious command from their musher which allows them to take off and hit the trail! With tongues flapping happily in the wind, these dogs are truly in their element and rejoice in doing what they love and do best...running!
Over the river & through the woods to the finish line they go!
It is unfortunate that there are some people who find dog mushing to be a display of cruelty towards animals. One need only to witness--first hand--the mutual love between a musher and their treasured K-9 companions to see that these dogs are treated like gold.
Mushers spend hours and hours, months and years--raising, praising and adoring their team. They feed their dogs at least as well as they feed themselves, sometimes even better!
Their love for these animals quite obviously meets that of any dog owner in the world.
Typical mushing team transport.
A common sight in the Interior, AK.
Some roads are closed and others monitored by
police to ensure the teams are given the right of way.
It won't be long now!
Not many people can wake up on a winter morning and enjoy the day watching this exciting activity. But here in Alaska, especially in the Interior where mushing is most popular, people of all ages enjoy it--and not just for competition. Many residents have a couple dogs for themselves that they can spend the day with, winding around countless trails and gliding across frozen waterways. And, in the summer, the dogs don't just sit around getting lazy. They are kept happy and fit by continuing to pull the sled. A sled with wheels, that is! You're just as likely to find a team off the side of the road, pulling a four-wheeler (ATV).
Waiting patiently for the fun to begin.
Sprint races (around 20-30 miles) such as this are very tight. The starts are staggered about 2mins apart, with the strongest teams in the back, which makes for a very dramatic finish.
Visitors to Alaska can also enjoy a ride! There are many companies
that offer day outings or even packages that combine an
activity with lodging, etc.
(Click on the gallery below for a glimpse of mushing life)