Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dog Derby weekend

It's Caribou Carnival in Yellowknife, but things are pretty subdued this year. No tents down on Frame Lake with food and activities, no Ugly Dog and Truck Contest. Caribou Carnival depends on volunteers, and it seems everyone is tapped out because of the Arctic Winter Games, which wrapped a couple of weeks ago. That event took 2,500 volunteers, most of whom were local.

The big event this weekend is the annual Canadian Championship Dog Derby. The race is held over three days and covers 150 miles.

For many, many years I've gone down to Frame Lake for the start of the race, trying to get the perfect dog sledding photo. This year I finally have a digital camera that shoots fast enough, and corrects for the brightness of the snow, so I'm having better luck.

Someday I'll have to take a tape recorder to capture the sound of the dogs before the race begins. When the handlers start taking them out of the trucks and putting them into their harnesses, there's a lot of yipping and squealing - the dogs love to run, and just want to get going. Then the starting gun goes off, and everything is silent, except for the hiss of the sled runners on snow and the occasional instruction from the mushers.

Here's a shot from the start of the race on Friday.

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