Alaskan sled dogs run away after abandoning mushers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — McKenna Wall was driving home last weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska, when she noticed something odd about the team of sled dogs running down the shoulder of the highway. She had just attended a sled dog race, but these dogs had no musher on their sled to guide them.
Wall thought it might be one of the racing teams. As she was recording the odd encounter on Sunday, her fiancé Wyatt Dunlap pulled their vehicle past the team.
He stopped in front of six dogs and other motorists locked them in to prevent them from running further.
Turns out that wasn’t one of the teams Wall saw racing earlier.
Former Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race competitor Gwen Holdmann said two of her children were taking a friend sledding.
Holdmann was ahead of them, riding what she called a “snow moped” that looks like a motor scooter on skis, in case something went wrong.
The dog sled skidded on the ice of the river, and when it hit the snow again, it tumbled. The children dumped out, the sled righted, and the dogs, with their load now lightened, continued to run.
Holdmann figured the dogs would stop when they got to a landing stage. But the dogs had other ideas, made two right turns and found themselves running alongside traffic.
Wall said she was worried about the dogs’ safety when she saw them.
“I felt a little freaked out, that we had to help,” she said. “There were a lot of people hanging out the window trying to keep the dogs off the road.”
The six dogs piled into a Subaru to wait for Holdmann. She had searched the neighborhood for dogs to no avail, and when she called the police, they knew where to direct her.
“At least they chose to go on the right side of the road,” Holdmann said of the runaway team. “No one was hurt, which was fantastic. That’s how you hope things like this will end, because I was kind of scared.”
On Wednesday, Norwegian musher Joar Leifseth Ulsom won his first Iditarod Trail sled dog race, reports CBS affiliate KTVA-TV. The 31-year-old stopped under the Burled Arch in Nome at 3am on Wednesday.
The station writes that his team’s steady, consistent pace helped him through a year that saw heavy snowfall and warm weather for much of the trail.
Ulsom has been closing in on victory for years, says KTVA-TV. He was Rookie of the Year in 2013, placing in the top seven in his first five races.