Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs

Two Rivers, Alaska

 

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Dog Mushing in General

   Dog mushing is one of my favorite activities because it incorporates so many aspects of other favorite activities.  It allows me to be in the company of my dogs  while exploring the Alaskan wilderness in a manner that has deep historical and cultural roots.  

    Mushing is the use of of dogs to pull a sled over snow.  For centuries dog sleds were used to move people and materials throughout regions of North America that are covered in snow during most of the winter.  Today mushing is primarily a sport or hobby.  While racing is the most visible aspect of dog mushing, it is only a small part of much bigger picture.  Many Alaskans drive dogsleds for recreation and to access remote wilderness areas that are closed to motor vehicle traffic.  In the bush, where gasoline may cost up to $7.00 or more per gallon, dogs represent a relatively inexpensive means of transportation.  Many hunters and trappers prefer to use dog teams as dogs are more reliable than machines and much less likely to disturb the natural movement and behavior of wild animals.  Dog mushing was officially proclaimed the Alaska State Sport in 1972. 

    Dog mushing is a very low-impact method of traveling through the wilderness.  While running the dogs rarely bark or make noise, so the only 'artificial' sounds one hears is the breathing of the dogs, the patter of their feet against the snow and the gentle 'swoosh' of the sled runners sliding along.  Mushing provides a unique opportunity to explore otherwise inaccessible areas while experiencing nature in its most elemental form.

    Although a small and unincorporated community, my home town of Two Rivers is home to more dog mushers per capita than anyplace else I can think of. It is quite possible that one could drive a dog team out of my yard all the way north to the Arctic Ocean crossing only one gravel road, and never encountering a single human being. 

    To learn more about dog mushing and my own involvement in the sport just click on the links to your left.