I woke up yesterday morning and looked at my weather app, “It’s 1 degree outside,” I said to Wade who was still fast asleep. “I’m not going up in freezing temperatures. Besides I’m not in the mood for staving off Muki who is going to want to fight every old, black female dog on the hill,” and I rolled over to go back to sleep. In the depths of his sleep my statement of 1 degree rang loudly enough for him to stir and check his phone, “You’re in Celcius mode,” he said kicking me out of bed. “Go!”
Sundog’s Canine Uphill
And so I rallied, pumping myself up with all sorts of nutrition before I drove up to the 17th annual Sun Dog’s Canine Uphill on Buttermilk, “A Snowshoe Event for Dogs and their People” to benefit local no-kill animal shelters.
I’m thinking the weather was a deterrent for the numbers were down from previous years but those who did show up were in great spirits and ready to go, their dogs in a harness with roped leashes attached to the waist by a carabiner.
Signing up I was relieved that there were two divisions, one for competitors who wanted to race and one for those in recreational mode. I am not a racer. The whole idea of it exhausts me but I used taking photos for the blog as an excuse and checked recreation.
Outside people and dogs were mingling and feeding their dogs treats, compliments of Zukes from Durango and other local suppliers.
Seth Sachson was there preparing to race up the hill with his two sled dogs, he won the race last year but had not signed up. This year he was ready to go. Seth is the Owner of The Aspen Animal Shelter, a privatized, for-profit, self-sustaining, no-kill shelter and every year at the race his focus is on matching shelter dogs up with dog lovers in the hopes of finding them a home.
One of the Event Directors, Erik Skarvan, a tall, lanky local, and the owner of Sun Dog Athletics, greeted everybody with his famous smile. Erik is also known for his enthusiasm for mountain and road bike racing, and his summer programs.
We all gathered at the foot of the hill and Erik began the count down for the start of the race. Seth, harnessed in to his dogs, was ready to once again lead the pack.
It was a happy group of people running, walking, and some strolling up the mountain with overly excited dogs. Even Muki decided that this was not a day for picking fights. There were dogs playing tug of war with sticks and dogs racing over the jumps left over from the X-Games. A few of the older ones stopped mid-track, laying down in the snow and refusing to go on. In the end I think everybody made it to the finish line, which was actually only half way up this year, I think due to the sketchy conditions.
It was so peaceful, and quiet, even with the dogs, and it was so beautiful. It was also fun to be in nature with Muki…and about 60 other dogs and their owners. Next year all you dog owners should join me!!
For more photos go to http://facebook.com/aspenreallife