Mushing passion shared by Rail Trail 200 directors
If you go out for a walk along the TransCanada Trail in Greenwood you may just be surprised by the call “Go Haw!”
If you should hear that call, you may want to stand to the side while Terri Meyer and her dog team race on by.
Meyer, a Greenwood resident and director for the Boundary’s own annual Rail Trail 200 Dog Sled Race, can be seen daily along the trails racing her four dogs — two collie/husky crosses and two Alaskan malamutes. If there’s snow, the dogs can be seen pulling her special dog sled, if there’s no snow or not enough, Meyers will often have them on their gang line in front of a quad. Either way, it’s a good time for all.
“It’s quiet, you get to be outside in the fresh air and you get to watch the dogs having fun and you get to have fun with them,” said Meyer. “To me, the dogs keep me going, going back out there to the point you want to rip your jacket off because you’re sweating so much.”
Eight mushers expected for Rail Trail 200
If you don’t have your own sled dogs but want to experience some of the exhilaration Meyer feels, then come on out to the annual Rail Trail 200 Dog Sled Race.
This year’s race, from Friday, Jan. 20 to Sunday, Jan. 22, includes two more racers than last year for a total of eight mushers.
Race president and veterinarian, Dr. Ruth Sims is expecting five 12-dog sled teams and three eight-dog sled teams from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The Rail Trail 200 is a prequalifying race for both the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.
Mushers must participate in three prequalifying races before they can enter either of the larger races, said Meyer.
Despite the scattered snow pack, Meyer, who is also an assistant race marshal this year, said the race should go ahead as planned. If no snow is found in Grand Forks on the day of the race, the starting line will be moved to Jewel Lake Resort.
The starting line is one of the best places to view the dogs and mushers up close.
“It’s really enjoyable to watch one person and 12 dogs and seeing those dogs so eager to get going,” said Meyer, whose own passion for the sport started because of the eagerness she experienced in her own dogs. “It is just amazing watching the control and calm (the mushers) have while controlling those animals.”
The race was started in 2010 by Sims to celebrate the legacy of the importance of the railroad to this region and to bring dog sledding to the Boundary. Much of the race is along those old abandoned railroad beds. Although the lack of snow stopped the race in 2010, the inaugural run went in 2011.
Both the 100 mile (161 km) and 200 mile (322 km) races start in Grand Forks on the rail bed behind the Station Pub at 9 a.m. on Friday Jan. 20.
The 200 mile, 12-dog race ends in Greenwood some time on Sunday Jan. 22. The 100 mile eight-dog race finishes in Beaverdell. Last year the racers arrived in Greenwood between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the Sunday.
The race still needs volunteers to help set-up, clean up and cover the crossings. A volunteer meeting will be held at the Station Pub on Thursday Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.
For those wishing to support the race, there is a by donation Ski for the Dog Sled Race night at Pheonix Ski Hill on Saturday Jan. 14 starting at 6:30 p.m.
For more information visit www.railtrail200.com.