Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A 1,000-Mile Sled Dog Race on Valentine's Day

This postcard of lead dogs in harness is a very accurate representation. Not only does it show a typical pose of leaders while the rest of the team is hooked up, it includes booties on the dog's paws and a common x-back type harnesses.

Today is the start of the 1,000 mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. This year the race runs from Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska, my home town. The race direction alternates each year. The views along the trail are spectacular because so much is run over the tops of mountains and 500 miles along the mighty Yukon River. It is billed as the toughest sled dog race in the world because the distance between check points are long --- one stretch is 200 miles ---, and the trail follows many of the old trapping and gold rush trails of the last century where temperatures often plummet down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The race has begun on Valentine's Day many times, as it did in 1996, the year I ran the race and finished 11Th. That year the race began in Fairbanks. The first checkpoint was at Angel Creek Lounge, 90 miles into the race. After arriving I opened my drop bags and found a Valentine surprise from my wife packed in among my supplies. Months earlier she slipped chocolate kisses and a handmade card inscribed with loving words. It was a welcomed surprise in the cold and dark on the first night of the big race.

Despite the title "Alaska," this wooden postcard was made by Vandercraft of Prineville, Oregon. According to Postcardy's blog, "Vandercraft used to have a website showing many of their cards, but their website is not currently active." Postcardy has several examples of wooden postcards. I bought this card in the 1980's.

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