Sunday, February 1, 2009

Joe May's Commentary

This weekend the Don Bowers Memorial 200/300 Mile Sled Dog Race has been running between Willow and Trapper Creek, Alaska. I found an interesting commentary by veteran musher and commentator Joe May at the Don Bowers Memorial Race site today, and as usual, Joe's writing is stellar:
Each year by custom we designate someone, generally deceased, as honorary musher. Considering possibilities this year my mind veered onto a different tack:
The Trapper Creek rest stop and checkpoint, “May’s cabin”, is the old Kurt Wagner homestead across the river from downtown Talkeetna. My wife Sandra and I, in recent years, have refurbished the cabin and call it home…the cabin, a piece of history in itself. We’ve been involved locally with sled dogs and the people who drive and drove them hereabouts for many years. So the thought comes to me; what better way to keep good memories alive than to dedicate this year’s race to the “wood and water” haulers...

Joe then gives a quick history lesson and a respectful nod to
...the shaggy dogs, their sometimes shaggy owners, their long suffering wives, ex wives, girlfriends, and live in cooks who once inhabited that world “up the tracks” and “across the river” that made this place and the time so dynamic...

There's a new generation of mushers writing their own "tales of the trail," but as Joe acknowledges,
The mushers of this years Bowers race will use trails, knowledge, and skills that developed and evolved here in the upper valley by those unique characters. I thought it a fine gesture to recognize them and the time they defined….good history is so easy lost.

Just so.