The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race spans some of the harshest winter territory on the planet: 1,000 miles between Fairbanks, Alaska and the city of Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Known as ‘The World’s Toughest Sled Dog Race,’ it’s an event like no other.
Run every February, the race is phenomenally challenging, crossing four mountain ranges, including the dangerous and intimidating 3,685-foot Eagle Summit, as it loosely follows the course of the mighty Yukon River. First run in 1984, the Yukon Quest follows historic mail delivery and transportation routes between Fairbanks, Dawson City, and Whitehorse, the same routes followed by the stampeders in the 1890′s Klondike Gold Rush.
The idea originated in April, 1983, during a bar-room discussion among four Alaskans who envisioned an endurance race in which racers would rely on themselves and survival would be as important as speed. The route follows the Yukon River for much of its course and travels over four mountains: King Solomon’s Dome, Eagle Summit, American Summit, and Rosebud Summit. Its length is farther than the distance between Seattle and Los Angeles, and the distance between some checkpoints is the breadth of Ireland.
Racers endure ice, snow, and extreme cold. Wildlife is common on the trail, and participants sometimes face challenges from moose and wolves. Because of the harsh conditions, the Yukon Quest has been called the “most difficult sled dog race in the world”and the “toughest race in the world.”
Author and race volunteer Helen Hegener has traveled sections of the Yukon Quest every year since 2007, driving thousands of miles from checkpoint to checkpoint through Alaska and the Yukon Territory in Canada. This book shares her love of the race and the dogs who run it, her respect for the mushers who brave the trail, and her appreciation for the fellow volunteers who make it all possible each year.
The Yukon Quest Trail: 1,000 Miles Across Northern Alaska and the Yukon Territory, text and photographs by Helen Hegener, additional photos by Eric Vercammen and Scott Chesney; with Trail Notes for Mushers, by two-time Yukon Quest Champion John Schandelmeier. Published December, 2014 by Northern Light Media. 151 pages, 8.5″ x 11″ full color format, bibliography, maps, indexed. $29.00 (plus $5.00 shipping and handling). Click on the link to order.
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