It’s dawn and about 3 degrees at Mount Crawford forest. For humans, it’s a bit of a struggle to leave the campfire but the dogs can barely wait, because they’re here to race!
Sled dogs come in all sorts of breeds, from Siberian Huskies and German Short-haired Pointers, to big boofy Malamutes, cross-breeds and even Kelpies.
Greg Goodfellow and his cohort of mushers of The South Australian Sled Dog Club take part in racing weekends regularly across the coldest months.
Categories are organised according to how many dogs are in the team and what they’re pulling. From 6 or 4-dog teams to 2 or 3 dogs, to dogs pulling bikes, or even if you’re mad enough, no sled at all — and it can get pretty gnarly out there.
At this event, racers might cover anything from just over five kilometres, with sleds at nearly 20 kilometres per hour, to a course of just over 2 kilometres for the runners.
This sport is truly about the whole pack, with kids encouraged to join in almost as soon as they can walk. It’s a family affair, with many participants camping in the forest over the weekend.
The South Australian Sled Dog Club is holding several more events in 2019 before the warmer weather sets in. If you’d like to lap up some of the action, find them on Facebook and get in touch.