On The Trail

Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)

Palos Park, United States

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Artist's Description

An Iditarod dog sled team races into a race checkpoint amidst majestic mountains.

Dog sled teams can number up to 16 dogs in the Iditarod competition. No substitutes are allowed along the race trail from the race’s ceremonial starting line in Anchorage, Alaska to the finish line in Nome, Alaska, a route comprising approximately 1100 miles through tough wilderness terrain. Perils along the trail include bitter well below zero cold, encounters with ornery moose, and traversing the ice-covered Yukon River and treacherous ice floes of the frozen Norton Sound of the Bering Sea.

Superbly conditioned, the canine athletes participating in sled racing are all about heart and determination. Indomitable in spirit, these dogs are a force of nature as they race along the trail.

Other than for a racing team or two comprised of purebred Siberian huskies, Iditarod sled dogs are all mutts, bred from the generalized Alaska sled dog (comprised of Native village dogs and mixed breeds in general) with occasional doses of pointer, spaniel, and even greyhound tossed into the mix in order to enhance speed and endurance while on the trail.

Incidentally, there are no losers in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race ; there are only finishers. Even if a team arrives days after the first mushing team crosses the finish line each sled dog team is cheered upon arrival in Nome. The very last musher is bestowed with the “red lantern” to signify the end of the race.

While recognition is given to all the human mushers completing this grueling test of endurance, it’s the dogs who deserve the greatest honor for their fortitude and determination.

Canon 10D, Tamron 28-75mm lens, shutter 1/500, f/9.5. ISO 400.

Coming into the Finger Lake Checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail, Alaska, USA

March 6, 2006

Featured in:
United States
Americas~Rural, Urban, Wild
Dogs In Sports
Alaska~Beyond Your Dreams

Artwork Comments

  • Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • zumi
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • linaji
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • Elizabeth Rodriguez
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • Yool
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • Béla Török
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • Rosalie Scanlon
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • Wendy  Slee
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • Angie Tirado
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
  • Wendy  Slee
  • Gina Ruttle  (Whalegeek)
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