The Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Mail Run in the North Cariboo is now a February event.
Rick Raynor, the President of the Gold Rush Trail Sled Dog Association, says they made the switch after last year when they had one each in January and February because of COVID and the need for social distancing.
“One of the things that last year did teach us and was a positive outcome for us, was that the February run had better snow conditions, and the mushers were saying that they really enjoyed that because it gave them more time to condition with their dogs. So we made the move to February this year. February 25th to 27th is going to be the annual mail run that is going to be at Troll on Friday, and in Wells and Barkerville on Saturday and Sunday.”
Raynor says the teams will leave the Troll Resort parking lot at around 11 o’clock on Friday morning. (Feb 25)
“We have 15 registrations so far for mushers. and the furthest that we have so far is from Alberta. We also have our usual ones that are from Prince George, Fort St. James and locally here in Quesnel.”
Raynor says the best place to see the start is right at Troll Resort.
That is expected to wrap up at around 2 o’clock, and he says the banquet will then be held that night.
“They do have the COVID restrictions that are in place so people that are attending have to be double vaccinated because it is a restaurant, and they’re operating at about 50 percent capacity right now. We’ll see where the restrictions go next week, but that’s what the plan is right now.”
Raynor says on Saturday they plan to start off from the Jack O Clubs parking lot.
“From there we have two runs for the mushers. One is the shorter Cornish Mountain loop which is a nice easy run for the dogs, and then there’s those mushers that really want to do the longer run, and that’s going to be around the Sugar Creek loop.”
That will be followed by musher sports in the afternoon, once again in the Jack O Clubs parking lot.
Raynor says they will then gather in Barkerville on Sunday.
“The mushers will leave the lower parking lot and go down across the Bowron Lake Road, and then around the Cornish Mountain loop again to Wells, where they will be joining the dash participants to make the dash from Wells to Barkerville.”
He says they will be doing it a little bit earlier this year, probably starting at around 11 a.m.
The awards banquet at the Jack O Clubs will then finish things off.
As always, Raynor says envelopes are for sale prior to the start of the mail run.
“We have a number of outlets in town. The envelopes have to be purchased from the outlets and put into the special mailboxes in town. But they can also be purchased on-line, so you can go to our website at sleddogmailrun.ca.”
Raynor says the cutoff to have them into their special mailboxes is Wednesday, February 23rd.