The 27th Annual Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run is now officially underway in Quesnel.
The mushers were sworn in as mail carriers outside the Canada Post office at around 9-30 this morning and they took off on the first stage of their journey at 11 o’clock from Umiti Pit, north of Quesnel, for a 20-kilometer run.
Rick Raynor, the President of the Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Association, says this is truly a unique event…
“To our knowledge this is the only official mail that is delivered into a government postal system and carried by dogsled for a portion of its journey. So this morning the mail got sworn in, all of the mail runners this morning, the mushers, were officially sworn in as contractors for Canada Post and they are now officially carrying our mail that is going to be delivered and carried here in Quesnel and tomorrow in Troll and on Sunday will be delivered through Barkerville and Wells, and delivered back to the Barkerville Post Office where it will enter back into the regular postal system.”
Raynor says there are just under two thousand pieces of mail that will be delivered to 19 different countries around the world.
He says there are fifteen mushers, including some from as far away as Wyoming and California, as well as local musher Jeff Dinsdale and Jody Verge.
Raynor says after today’s Umiti Pit run they’ll start again tomorrow morning…
“We’ll be at the Troll Resort again for an 11 o’clock start and that’s on the same day that Troll has its big ski race so the parking lot is going to be pretty full just to warn you, and after the second stage tomorrow at Troll, the musher sports will be starting at 2 o’clock. That’s the event that we think is important, it teaches the outdoor survival skills that are so important for us living here in the Central Interior. They’re going to be doing things like snowshoeing, setting a trap, they are going to be lighting a fire using no paper and a limited number of matches to be able to make their tea and bannock, to be judged by our Princesses, so that’s a great event to see.”
Raynor says there will be a dinner at Troll Resort at four and then on Sunday, they’ll be at Barkerville for an 11 o’clock start there…
“The teams will be leaving Barkerville in the lower parking lot and they’ll be going back through Wells to start the Barkerville Dash at 12 o’clock. And from 12 o’clock until roughly one o’clock they’ll be dashing in the only race component of our whole weekend, and that will be leaving at 12 o’clock at the Jack O Clubs in Wells, and then the mail will eventually be delivered back to the Barkerville Post Office on Sunday afternoon.”