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In hour between dusk and dawn I arose from my bed, to venture north to the Gunflint Trail. The cold had crept indoors as the heat in our little cabin was not working properly, so I was happy to start adding the layers before making my way to the car. Coffee in one hand, keys in the other and heat turned all the way up. I was not going to freeze during the hour and half drive north to Trail Center where the Gunflint Mail Run would start.
The car thermometer said ten below, though that never takes into account the windchill. A little warmer than it was last year for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race, which was one of the coldest I could remember at -36 at the start of the race. The dogs do love the cold. They actually seem to run better when the temps are cooler. Their caloric needs are much higher when it’s cold and when they are running. They may need up to 10,000 calories a day to meet their metabolic needs.
I have never been up for the Mail Run before, so I was excited to see familiar faces and the same unbridled excitement of the dogs as I do at the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. I don’t think they realize that they are running a race, they just know they get a chance to run. And boy do they love it!
Gunflint Mail Run 2020 Before the StartGetting Ready to Run!
The Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race is a continuous race consisting of two legs of equal distance, separated by a mandatory layover. There are two classes in the race: a 12-dog, 100-mile race and an 8-dog, 65-mile race. Races start and finish at Trail Center. The Mail Run evolved from The Can-Am Sled Dog Races on Devil’s Track Lake organized by Bud Kratoska of Trout Lake Lodge in the early to mid-seventies. The Mail Run also gave birth to the longer race known as the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. You can read more about the history of the mail run at: https://gunflintmailrun.com/about-history/
Gunflint trail map
I am sad that I am unable to attend the Beargrease this year. It is always one of my favorite times of the year. I will be with them in spirit though. You can follow the race on-line, both on Facebook and on their website at: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon If you are looking for something a little more local there will also be the first time ever Klondike Dog Derby. February 9th, 2020. It would be a good time to learn more about the dogs and sled dog racing.
The Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby is a world-class sled dog race that will introduce the incredible sport of mushing to the local community. The 8-dog, 40-mile race will start and finish on Water St. in the heart of historic Excelsior, MN and then run along the beautiful shores of Lower Lake Minnetonka. To get more information on this event visit: https://www.klondikedogderby.com/
The weekend was great fun, I got to enjoy sweet potato fries, with honey-jalapeno sauce at My Sister’s Place in Grand Marais. I also got to stop at one of my favorite breakfast spots, the Rustic Inn. Their breakfast potatoes are awesome and their pies are really good too. We also made a stop to check out the surfers at Stoney Point, and saw a Bald Eagle. The Stoney Point Surfers are so fun to watch. You can check them out on Facebook. Maybe someday I'll learn to surf...but in Hawaii, definitely, in Hawaii.
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While watching the dogs is always fun, I do enjoy getting to see all my friends and fellow photographers. My travel buddies are the best. Travel is always better with friends and makes for more of an adventure. We all need a few more laughs along the way. Gunflint mail run sled dog race-245
Congratulations to this year’s mail run participants (results from: WTIP North Shore Communit Radio )
1st Ryan Redington – Callin’ Trail Kennel – 8:18:48
2nd Ryan Anderson – Ander Tier Racing – 8:21:43
3rd Rita Wehseler – Stoney Creek Kennels – 8:26:32
4th Erin Redington – Callin’ Trail Kennel – 8:29:46
5th Matt Schmidt – Mush Lake Racing – 8:39:13
6th Blake Freking – Manitou Crossing Kennels – 8:49:23
7th Nathan Schroedrer – Schroeder Mushing – 9:10:26
8th Frank Moe – Moetown Kennels – 9:11:20
9th Andy Heerschap – Paws on Patrol Sled Dog Kennel – 9:52:42
10th Jaye Foucher – Sibersong Sleddogs – 9:55:30
11th Laura Neese – Nature’s Kennel – 10:12:57
12th Kevin Mathis – Go the Distance Kennel – 10:18:03
13th Talia Martens – Talia’s Team – 10:30:19
14th John Fisher – Meander Mountain Huskies – 11:06:08
8-dog (top five finishers
1st Joanna Oberg – Run Silent Racing – 5:12:37
2nd Erin Schouweiler – Otter Run Kennel – 5:18:10
3rd Brian Bergen – Gone to the Dogs Racing – 5:23:30
4th Stephanie Love – Moetown Kennels – 5:37:31
5th Dusty Klaven – Klaven’s Crazy K-9’s – 5:40:17
6th Ryan Beaber – Flying K Kennel – 5:47:57
7th Erin Altemus – Mush Lake Racing – 5:51:22
8th Craig Fox – Flying K Kennel – 6:03:24
9th Janet Bahe – Unleashed Sled Dog Adventures – 6:07:28
10th Andrea DeBoer – Amarok Kennel – 6:10:18
11th Steve Peterson – Snow Mtn Ranch Dog Sledding – 6:10:26
12th Darcy Stanley-Nord – NordStar Racing – 6:12:47
13th Anna Bolvin – YesICan Racing Kennel – 6:15:23
14th Nicole Grangroth – True North Kennel – 7:03:30
15th Alice White – Wolf Moon – 7:11:41th
16th Andre Duval– All American Sled Dog Team – Scratch
You can also checkout some of my images and images of other great photographers at the Great Lakes Aquarium, in Duluth Minnesota. The display will be up until March 8th, 2020.
Until next time, adventure on!
To view more images visit: Gunflint Mail Run 2020