Dog Sledding: The Iditarod Trail

The Iditarod trail is perhaps the best known sled dog racing trail in the entire world. The trail, which stretches from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska is over 1,000 miles long, crosses two major rivers and runs through the heart of the Western Alaska. Every year mushers and dog sled teams from around the world will show up in Anchorage Alaska to participate in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Although the race takes place at the beginning of March so that racers and sled dogs won’t have to compete with the extreme conditions of mid-winter Alaska the weather is still a constant enemy to the sled teams. Temperatures have been known to drop to 73 degrees below zero and frequent blizzards routinely cause whiteouts for days on end. It has taken racers anywhere from 9-15 days to complete the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, during which they have to follow a pre determined route and stop at 26 or 27 different checkpoints. While on the Iditarod trail racers are left to fend for themselves against the Alaskan wild.

Although there are several chances for racers to rest, resupply and refit along the way the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race can still be incredibly hard to conquer due to the extreme Alaskan cold. Even with the frequent checkpoints there are still large lengths of the Iditarod trail that span fifty to sixty miles of will, unoccupied terrain. Meaning that if you get in trouble the only ones that will be in a position to help are the racers coming up behind you. The average cost to compete in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is estimated at between $20,000 and $30,000 though some racers have been known to spend upwards of $100,000 in order to purchase the best equipment and supplies that money can buy.

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