Gold Rush Trail Dog Sled Mail Run

by Sleddoggin Staff on April 7, 2011

It has been a busy weekend with final preparations for the upcoming Gold Rush Trail Dog Sled Mail Run. The trail is in, dog teams have been running on it and reports about trail conditions are generally favourable, with a few suggestions for improvements. The weather has been milder but the snow has not been melting….if anything, the milder weather has caused the snowpack to settle a bit and that makes for a better base to the trail. It would take a highly unusual and quite spectacular meteorological event to damage the trail at this point. On Saturday, trail workers spent over 6 hours going over the Stage 1 and Stage 2 sections of the trail doing some brushing and packing. There has been fresh snow on the Stage 3 and Stage 4 sections in the mountains from Stanley to Barkerville and on to Wells.

Sunday saw the completion of construction of Maverick Manor, the home of Cafe del Mar. Located at the Cottonwood Trading Post (which is the end of Stage 1), the Manor will be the site of the Friday night BBQ and Pot Luck as well as the Saturday morning Pancake Breakfast. But it will not just be a place to eat, the Manor will also offer a place to keep warm, to sit, to rest, to visit, to people-watch and to think. Brave souls may even want to sleep there. And with a name like Maverick Manor, some of the crusty old trail-types from the Cottonwood area may want to retire there.

The Saturday night banquet at Troll Resort will feature meat and vegetarian chile with salads, buns and desert. The cost is $15.00 a person and tickets must be purchased or reserved by this coming Thursday evening. To reserve your ticket contact Margaret at 250-992-9143 (leave a message if you have to) or email her at We are planning to have some old-time dog mushers’ musical entertainment at the banquet , awards will be handed out and of course the auction will be lots of fun, with all proceeds from the auction going to the Holger Bauer Forest Safety Fund.

Don’t forget the Mushers’ Sports on Saturday afternoon at Troll Resort. There will be room for 8 teams, teams must consist of at least 5 people. Two teams have already registered, if you want to enter, you should be prepared to let the organizer Jeff Dinsdale know during the weekend. This year cheating is certainly not allowed so please don’t bring your tea in a thermos bottle from home and don’t think that a cinnamon bun purchased in the ski lodge will pass for homemade bannock. Teams may bring condiments and garnish if they feel that it would improve the presentation or taste of their culinary efforts. Our esteemed judges (names withheld to protect them from threats or attempts to bribe in the days leading up to the competition) will make the final choice of the winner in all categories which include trap setting, moose calling, cigarette rolling, fire lighting, tea boiling and bannock making. Remember this event is a serious one….it is a sincere effort to ensure that those skills which have been an integral part of dog mushing and bush life for generations will not be lost.

And finally, don’t forget the Musher’s Hat Contest. There is a prize for the best hat that truly embodies the dog mushing spirit. Again, there was a time when dog mushers would wear fur hats as well as brightly coloured wool caps…..we want to preserve this tradition. This contest is open to everyone, not just dog mushers. The judges will be scrutinizing the crowd looking for the best Musher’s Hat and the winner will receive a prize.

The website has been updated again this week. There is a great new map of the trail, it allows you to enlarge each stage of the route so that you can get a better look. Thanks to Julie Gabert and Eva Grandell for some great work.

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