As the daylight hours fade and the temperatures plunge, winter arrives in the Moosehead region, and heralds the approach of the 2008 Snofest in February. Far from the bustle of holiday gatherings and Christmas shopping, an elite corps of athletes has been training for several months for the kick-off event of Snofest: The 100-Mile Wilderness Sled Dog Race that will be held on Saturday, February 9th at 9:00 am. In fact, while many of us were enjoying warm August days and swimming in Moosehead Lake, teams each consisting of 12 dogs and a musher, were pulling sleds–not on skis but on wheels–answering the “Gee!” and the “Haw!” commands, building up endurance and putting in hours of training on backwoods trails to get ready for this 5th annual international event. To see photos from last year’s race, and for information about the race, the race course, and the 2007 winners, log on to: www.100milewildernessrace.orgLast year, the 100-Mile Wilderness Sled Dog Race drew mushers from Canada and throughout New England with a winning time of 6 hours and 57 minutes; the first place winner crossing the finish line at 7 pm, and the final team coming home at 11:30 pm! Traveling the famed 100-mile wilderness region en route from Greenville to Brownville and back, the teams brave bitter cold and deep snow. (Insert map) This is definitely an endurance race that takes a special “breed” of musher and dogs! Last year’s event was so successful that by Thanksgiving this past month, race organizers had already received registration forms from 20 teams (5 more than last year)! And while many of this year’s contestants participated last year, many have no doubt heard about this fantastic event and have signed up for the first time!. Preparations UnderwayRace organizers from the towns of Greenville and Brownville, local mushers, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and a local group of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers have been at work planning this year’s event–from the pre-race dinner to the daylong race, to an array of indoor and outdoor activities for young and old alike for the entire weekend.Volunteers help provide the teams with all their needs throughout the event, with special focus on the staging area where each team’s gear is checked, the starting line where teams begin the race at two-minute intervals, and at road-crossing areas where the safety of the dog teams and traffic is managed. (Insert photo of volunteers) Training for those interested in helping to handle the dog teams will be held in January.. For information on volunteer opportunities, contact Maryann Herbert at 695-2528 or Diane Bartley at 695-2811.While waiting for the teams to return, AMC has organized a number of programs. Below is a preliminary listing of events:11 am- Noon: Animal Tracking Presentation (Community House)1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Identification of Winter Plants (Community House)2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Camp-to-Camp Ski Adventure (Community House)3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Baffin Island Sled Dogs (Community House)4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Wilderness & Spirit: A Mountain Called Katahdin (Film by Huey)6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Mahoosuc Guiding Dog SleddingSponsors Still WelcomeKey to the success of the 2007 race were the sponsors from the entire region. Among the sponsors last year were: Plum Creek Timberlands, Maine Highlands Federal Credit Union, Bangor Savings Bank, Baily Lumber, Moosehead Messenger, The Station Market, Indian Hill Trading Post, Bob’s Farm, Home and Garden, C & J Variety, Appalachian Mountain Club, CES and Mountain Ridge Kennels.If any area organization or business would like information on sponsorship levels and rewards, please contact Cheri Goodspeed at 695-0789.Mark your calendars; February 9th will be here in a flash. Be part of the action!
Dog scootering involves having your dog(s) pull you on a wheeled scooter whilst attached via