|The Adventure Zone
It was Herodotus, circa 500 B.C., who inadvertently
set the standard for modern postal service. "Neither snow nor
rain nor heat nor gloom of night," he wrote, "stays these couriers
from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." For the
hardy breed of adventurer who dared to journey North in the
19th century, the vast expanse of frozen mountains, valleys
and rivers made getting news from home a daunting challenge.
Today, it's a pledge that still captures the North American
In honour of the good old days when sled dog teams were depended
upon to deliver tidings from afar, northern British Columbians
Jeff and Margaret Dinsdale and a cast of dedicated volunteers
hold the Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run each winter. The
event, which is scheduled from January 21 to 23 in 2005, bestows
Honorary Canada Post Mail Carrier status on participating mushers
and serves as the only place on Earth where you can deposit
a letter and know that it will be delivered to its final destination,
at least in part, by dog team.
A multi-staged event between Quesnel and Barkerville, B.C.,
the Sled Dog Mail Run travels 100 kilometres over trails and
logging roads that range from gentle rolling hillside to rigorous
Hardscrabble Mountain. Launched in the early 1990s as a major
mid-distance competition and qualifier for both the Iditarod
and the Yukon Quest races, the event, now in its 13th year,
has settled happily into an annual celebration of winter recreation
that also welcomes snowmobilers, skijorers and skiers.
The event is also a chance for friends and families to take
part in an action-packed weekend outdoors. Among the highlights,
there will be a barbecue, overnight campout and a Saturday night
gala banquet and fund-raising auction. The last-day Barkerville
Dash, a five-mile sprint that is open to all three- to six-dog
teams, skijorers, skiers, cyclists and snowshoers, is part of
the Wells Winter Carnival.
Drawing particpants from western Canada, the northwestern U.S.,
Europe and even Australia, the Sled Dog Mail Run is an icy slice
of Canada's past.
For more information, visit www.wellsbc.com/sleddog/race.html
How do you get through the waning weeks of winter?