Dog Sled Racing in the Appalachians!

Yesterday I posted up a picture for the Weekly Photo Challenge giving you a nice little teaser of my Saturday day trip.  Last weekend over at Saint Pamphile near the US border of Maine, there was the dog sled races called Odyssée Appalachienne.  Trying out mushing and dog sleds are probably one of those things on my bucket list, but they are a bit on the pricey side so I went instead to go check out an actual race.  There has been a few around Quebec but somehow we chose this one which is farther away at about 4 hours drive.  My warning to fellow Montrealers (or those that have to cross through Montreal), the stretch of road called the Highway 20 is possibly the most boring-est highway EVER.

Had to commemorate with a photo the first slope I saw in 3 hours

My boyfriend and I personally hate that road…its like someone was trying to win the record of having the longest most straightest road in the world and there was just nothingness around it.  Plus, we had to get up at this atrociously early hour to get there.  Despite that, I still want to try it again in the March races over in the region of Charlevoix on Iles des Coudres for the international dog races.

Enough of me rambling on, I`m sure you all want to see some dogs

The first stop was at Saint Pamphile where most of the races started. We arrived later than expected but we did end up seeing 3 teams arrive together from a shorter sprint and then about 20 minutes later, the last team made its arrival.  Before that, there was already at least one more team that arrived 30 minutes before those 3.  So watching these races is a big waiting game in the cold, but somehow when the teams arrive you can`t help but to cheer them on.

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Last team coming in

While we waited, of course, I ran off and tried to take some pictures of the scenery around…which was gorgeous!

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When the last team arrived, there was a big 1.5 hours break where it was for lunch.  We just took that as a bathroom break before we hit the roads again, but before that we dropped by to the little show of antique snowmobiles.

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Antique snowmobile show

After that, we were on our way again…to the midway stop of the first long haul morning race.  That race I think was supposed to end at 10pm later back at the starting point.  It was the 2 hours resting point for the dogs to recuperate, I believe.  So we drove right on and went to Lac Frontiere.

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First team in!

And 5 minutes or so later, we have our 2nd and 3rd enter the resting point.

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The 3rd team right up above was super excited and they were not ready to slow down yet.  They were jumping and barking for a few minutes before they all quieted down and headed off to their resting area.

Then came the 4th team of almost complete full team of white and grey huskies, my absolute fave types of dogs…

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They came maybe a good 5-10 minutes after those teams..

But the next team followed them to come in pretty close after…here is the 5th team entering.

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The 6th team took a while longer to arrive so after standing around and not really knowing how many teams were going to arrive and having to drive another 4 hours to get back home, we decided to leave.  But before I end this post, how many of you have seen a sea of dogs? I have…and they are the most beautiful and cute sight ever!

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And this is only the tip of the iceberg.  This was just a shot of a little group from the 5 teams that had arrived and started prepping for their rest before they continued their race.  There 60 dogs hanging around in the area and they all just looked so happy.  The joy you say from the dogs faces just made me smile.  This is their natural habitat and what they were born to do…running in the wild in extreme cold temperatures, being competitive.  Maybe it wasn’t their natural abilities but something us humans have domesticated them to do.  Still, to them, I guessing it sure beats sitting around in a warm house sleeping.  They get to exercise and hang out with other dogs and race and make their mushers proud.  None of the dogs looked depressed. Some were tired but still very  happy.

It was an awesome experience even if I didn’t get to see any starts or the whole process and had to wait for ages.  Every minute  was worth it though.  Now, I just need to search for some takers for March’s race and head on that extremely BORING highway again..

Have you tried doing dog sledding? Have you seen any of these races? Are you Husky/Samoyed/Malamute fans?

12 thoughts on “Dog Sled Racing in the Appalachians!

  1. I have actually been to a dog sled race once in Greenville, Maine. It was just like you describe. It is a talent to be able to run those teams like that, but I don’t think I would like it very much. At least it got you near Maine and you got to ride on the longest, straightest road with nothing around it. What could be better than that?

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    • I’ve been to Maine before if my memory is correct. It was when I was really young. Hey, my boyfriend is buying the road trip to Maine idea. haha! And my friend JellieFishie was telling me about soft shelled lobsters..haha! Its getting really tempting.
      I really like dog sled because of huskies. It was the first dog that my parents had and it was just the sweetest thing ever! 🙂

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      • Wait until it gets warmer and you will enjoy it. Let me know, I’ll tell you where to get your lobster and keep you out of the tourist traps. In Maine people don’t pronounce their r’s and replace them with that a sound. Not me but other people. Well me if I am talking to Maine people. So you would say, lobstah instead of lobster. Do you know what towns you visited before?

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      • For sure. I have no time to vacation during the winter. Busy times at work..haha!
        I was so young, I don’t remember what town I was..but it was a very brief stay from what I remember. Seriously, Maine seems like a cool place to go. I’ll definitely message or email you if I do end up going! Its so nice of you to offer to help us out 🙂 You’re awesome Jonathan!

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  2. The dogs are beautiful and precious! When I was younger I went to a dog sled race in Canada. And we rode many snow mobiles growing up too. I love those vintage ones in the photo. My dad had a Ski Doo and my mom had an Artic Cat. Brings back great memories!

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your link on my reblog page?

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  3. I agree, Highway 20 was mind-numbing when my family and I passed through there late last summer. Nothing there to see and trying to keep awake made for some interesting conversation later in the evening at the hotel. My wife asked, “I’m surprised you’re still able to walk after that drive.” I answered, “Oh, I’m okay.” She then sees me pass out on the bed. True story!

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  4. Very cool…I have not seen an actual race, but can certainly vouch for how much fun it is! I went dog sledding in Otter Lake (north of Ottawa). They some some pretty amazing packages if you would to check them out! It was so exciting. I highly recommend them. They are Escapade-Eskimo. I wrote a post about it recently on my site. They also have overnight packages that sound like loads of fun. I was only up for the afternoon but loved every minute of it.

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