The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

A Day At The Races

Posted · 12 Comments



Unplanned fun is the best kind, and so when my phone woke me this morning with Billy on the other end asking me to bring snowmachine oil 16 miles up an ice mountain road, I thought…why the heck not?  It was a warm day, in the 30F’s, the sun was popping out from the clouds, and there was a dog sled race at the destination.  My only disappointment of the day is that we didn’t bring the kids. (or maybe not so much…it was so quiet)

So we drove up near the end of Oilwell Road in Ninilchik, Alaska at Freddy’s Roadhouse and watched a stopping point of the Tustumena 200 sled dog race.  Ate lunch with friends, enjoyed the sweatshirt weather and loved on the dogs.

P.S. Anyone who tries to claim these dogs aren’t having the time of their lives, has clearly never watched them run.  Are there abusive mushers?  Of course.  And there are abusive cat owners, and horse owners, and hamster owners, and parents etc…  The musher’s I’ve been around live for their dogs and the dogs live for them.

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12 Responses to "A Day At The Races"
  1. Guest says:

    I love dog racing. When I was little my dad called the races from the tower in Tok. I was in awe of George Attla, Gareth Wright, Roxie Wright….. I love the yip of the excited dogs and I can till hear my dad boom “We got a dog team!”. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rachel Muller says:

    Just discovered your blog, and wanted to tell you that you ROCK!!! I love your attitude and humor – just the inspiration I needed right now, as I’ve been feeling rather overwhelmed by the never-ending daily drama of my five.

  3. Hanni says:

    I love that area! Your photos remind me of Libby Riddles’ dog yard. The view is amazing, and the dogs, spectacular!

    We were going to move to Homer a few years ago (maybe still will at some point) – I’ve been having so much fun looking through your photos and reading your words. Makes me feel connected to a place I love. My husband is heading up there for a week this spring – I’m so jealous! Northern Michigan doesn’t quite compare…

    I’m a homeschool mom (to one 6 year old girl), too, and really liked reading what you wrote about “unlearning”. We’re currently participating in an online charter school, but I’m thinking that this might be the last year for it. Too many requirements that I feel she doesn’t get enough out of. I’d rather have her digging ponds and rivers and playing with her trucks in the dirt instead of filling out numerous “worksheets”…ugh.

  4. Elizabeth- Delightfully Tacky says:

    Love this post. My Dad and I used to serve espresso and hot chocolate to mushers at Finger Lake and Iditarod Checkpoints on the Iditarod when I was like 7-12 years old. I used to love going over to hang out with the dropped dogs who were getting ready to be flown home. They were so happy and kind dogs, and you could tell they were disappointed that they wouldn’t be finishing the race. I saved a few booties from them, though I can’t remember where they are now. Probably in a box of stuff from my childhood back home in Anchorage!

  5. Andrea says:

    I love their little shoes!

  6. Michelle says:

    Funny! I just happen to be reading “Call of the Wild” and your post comes up! There is a group down here in California (I know !) that trains sled dogs, and I got the chance to meet them a few years ago. I’ve never seen happier dogs! So full of purpose and pride, so sweet and lovable. Must be awesome to see them actually run. Not very many chances to race in Los Angeles! :))

  7. Nancy says:

    What fun… Not many people can say they did what you just wrote.. What a wonderful day you had..and I love that 30 degrees is sweatshirt weather..

  8. Maryb says:

    They SO Love what they do!!! Great Pics Keri!

  9. Lynn Falconer says:

    When they run the RUN and when they rest that’s IT! superb capture Keri another great insight into life in Alaska for those of us who have not seen the fact only the world through your eyes. Thanks a load.

  10. Kristy K. James says:

    If sled dog racing is animal abuse, then so is horse racing. Some people just aren’t happy unless they start some kind of trouble. Dogs love to run, and anyone who says they don’t has never had a dog.

    I LOVE that they provide hay for them to rest on. Hmm. Might need to pick up some popcorn at the theater and pop Snow Dogs in my computer. 🙂

  11. Love the pics and the fact that you got to have some quality time with Billy and the dogs….Sweetness! Time well spent

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