Day 2: Alpine, Wyoming
Today we spent day 2 in beautiful Alpine, Wyoming. Alpine is located about 45 miles from Jackson Hole. This morning racers prepared themselves for the snowy 56 mile race up the Grays River Road between the Salt River Range and Wyoming Mountain Range. First to depart were the 12 dog racers followed by the 8 dog racers. As racers left the chute the crowd helped get the dogs ready to race by counting down from 10. Boy those dogs were excited to hit the trail!!
While the mushers were out on the trail, I had a chance to walk around and visit with handlers. Handlers have a very important role in the race. They are the mushers #1 helpers. Handlers feed, exercise, and clean up after the dogs while the mushers are out with their teams. They check the equipment to be sure in good working order. I visited with Taylor, Alix Crittenden handler. She told me how important it is for the dogs boxes to be clean and their straw to be replaced often. We watched as she used a garden hoe to reach the straw in the back of the box and place the straw in a trash bag. She then replaced it with fresh new straw. It is important that they dogs have a soft and warm place to rest between races.
As racers completed the Alpine leg of the race, they were welcomed back by a cheering crowd. Austin Forney gave us a big thumbs up as he crossed the finish line. Some mushers even races with Elk on their ride. Tonight both dogs and racers will rest up for tomorrows race. It was a great day in Alpine. Tonight we will travel to Kemmerer, Wyoming for the third leg of the race. Check back tomorrow to hear about the days adventures! Mush on!