Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Dog Days Set In

Sure, it is not the Alaskan Iditarod, that 1,850 km ultramarathon of dogsledding. But the Arctic portion of Quebec has been staging an annual 8-day race since 2001. Usually, the race runs through 3 or 4 Nunavik communities so that locals can cheer on the teams, and this year it will pass through my home town.

Ivakkak is a much more traditional type of race than the Iditarod. No Goretex high-tech outerwear, no carbonfiber sleds, and certainly no carbide-studded drag pads for breaking. Most of the racers in Nunavik wear sealskin boots and gloves, and perhaps caribou skin parkas and leggings.

The area covered this year stretches from Quaqtaq through Kangiqsujuaq, the Raglan Mine and Salluit before ending up in Ivujivik. This region is quite mountainous, totally devoid of trees and known to have blizzards at this time of year (as often reported in this blog). So bad has the weather been that a full week into the race the teams have only made their first community, Kangiqsujuaq. I project it will take another 8 days for the teams to reach my community.

Over the next few days I will give more details on dog-mushing Nunavik style, and relate some of the experiences I have had on the back of a qamutik.



Blogger merlinprincesse said...

OMG! Dogs with booties! And RED!!!! A bit kitch, no? :)))) Quebecois dogs from the North are NOT so mod! Hhehehe! :)

1:04 PM  
Blogger D said...

Ah yes, we Manitobans would compete with our own version: The Hudson Bay Quest. Sadly I live WAY too far south to actually see the event with my own eyes... sounds amazing!

1:10 PM  
Blogger Qayaq said...

Windy, sunny, cold.

2:25 PM  

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