At 5:30am last Saturday morning I was standing in the middle of a field with my eyes closed listening to the whining and barking of close to 100 dogs getting ready to run. The situation had a sound and a feel I know well.
However, when I cracked my eyes open reality began to swing.
The first sign that things were different was the sky. The sliver of a crescent moon was hanging low and heavy, but the stars were not the ones I'm familiar with and call 'friends' on long winter nights. Except Orion he's almost always to be found.
As dawn creeped in it became apparent that the terrain was drastically different then the locations I normally hang out with sled dogs. Dust and karoo bushes were the most obvious features - and if I had sat still in the same place long enough, springbok and meerkats would have likely made an appearance!! Much different then moose and coyotes.
There were strange looking dogs trailers, scooters, rigs and bikes - but as harnesses came out and countdowns began the familiarity again took hold.
This is my sport - whether it be on snow in Canada or Alaska or wheeled rigs in South Africa - the spirit and passion is the same. It is about the dogs - honoring their drive and spirit. I feel privileged to have witnessed it 'South African' style!!