There is nothing like coming home. No one loves or gives such a welcome homecoming like my critters, both human and four-legged. But, there's nothing like the festivities of the events of this weekend, or the wonderful accomplishments of this season. As I drove home through a blizzard that brought 11 inches of snow last night, finishing the trip today, I had the chance to think about a lot of the amazing animal atheletes I've met and worked with this winter. But first, here are a few snapshots from this weekend:
Dogs from Alcan Kennels, owned by Al Hardman, await the start of the U.P. 200 in their cozy quarters
Jason Barron from Lincoln, Montana prepares for departure at the U.P.200 start
>Pizza isn't the only thing "Hot and Ready" (sign in the background)
A U.P. 200 team runs along the shoreway of Lake Superior outside of Marquette
Geri Menard waves to spectators at the Deerton crossing
At the Deerton checkpoint of the Midnight Run awaiting Joann and other mushers' arrival
Shortly after 10 p.m. Joann came into the Deerton checkpoint - at that point, she was the second team to roll in! That's her team there in the distance
The Jack Pine 30
Other mushers had forewarned that the Jack Pine 30 is a challenging 30 miler not for inexperienced drivers. But, while I admit it was challenging, I really found the trail an absolute delight. In fact, my official time of 3 hours, 1 minute and 20 seconds seemed to fly by!
There were definitely parts of the trail that were challenging, though. Running up Marquette mountain has caused soreness in my whole body today! And coming down the ski lift via six dogs with skiiers passing beside me was quite interesting. My favorite part was running along Lake Superior coming into the harbor in downtown Marquette, though, when I knew I had clenched a pretty solid good standing and the race was almost over.
Unfortunately, I was by myself without a driver or handler for this race, so I have no pictures of myself, except for these which I took with my phone. I couldn't help smiling to myself, even though it was just me and the team traveling in the neighborhoods of Marquette.
My team, along the Lake Superior shoreline at the finish of the Jack Pine 30