Outdoor recreation in Northwest Montana doesn’t stop because it’s winter. Saying that it’s too cold to go outside and play would mean we’d be stuck inside for months and be nothing but a bump on a log. Sure, there’s lots of hibernation and movie watching, of which Redbox has made quite convenient of late. Sometimes we’re sluggish when the weather outside is frightful while inside it’s so delightful. But when opportunity knocks for some winter fun, we bundle up and get moving.
It was the third annual Flathead Sled Dog Days near Olney last weekend, so we headed out in single digit temps to watch the mushers hit the trail. Twenty-eight competitors from five western states and Canada participated in the timed races. They were comprised of 12-dog, 8-dog, and 4-dog teams. It was an out and back trail with the larger teams traveling farther into the Whitefish Range for about 18 miles while the 4-dog teams traveled 4 miles round trip.
Men, women, and teens competed in the race. We watched with other spectators as anxious dogs loudly yapped and wriggled in anticipation at the starting line. Some got a little rambunctious as evidence of bloody snow was raked over by handlers. People of all ages attended the event. Infants were snuggled close, bundled up babies rode in backpacks, toddlers were pulled in sleds and bigger kids had fun playing in the snow. Hot cocoa and coffee were served and a fire was kept burning for those folks wanting to get a little toasty.
It was a family affair and I’m glad we went. And guess what? We made the front page of the Sunday paper! See us in the last pic!
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Till next time,