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The Year That Was 2018 – GNSHC Great Northern Classic II

by Feb 8, 2019Project0 comments

I woke on day two of the Great Northern Classic to a crisp, cold yet clear day. Up early with Nardine and Richard to walk and toilet all the dogs, and not a drop of rain, sleet or snow in sight. 

Next, we headed to meet everyone at the forest. All cars and people were again checked through at the gate, forming a long convoy to wind our way into the setup area. 

Once everyone found their spot, all mushers and volunteers gathered for the days briefing.

Great Northern Classic II morning frost
Great Northern Classic II dog trailer
Great Northern Classic II convoy
Great Northern Classic II mushers meeting

While mushers busily prepared for racing, I legged it down the starting straight to set up for low angle (lying flat on the ground), oncoming shots of the teams. It was still very dark within the trees, even though I positioned on the corner with open sky above me.

Great Northern Classic II camera position

The rigs were first to come hurtling down the straight.

Great Northern Classic II rig race
Great Northern Classic II rig race
Great Northern Classic II rig race

My second position was at the finishing line, capturing rig teams coming home. This time I was low, kneeling with speckled sunlight breaking through the trees.

Some teams finishing fast. Some with a steady pace. All with big smiles on their faces. 

Great Northern Classic II camera position
Great Northern Classic II rigs finishing
Great Northern Classic II rigs finishing
Great Northern Classic II rigs finishing

As soon as the rig teams were through, I dashed off to set up at my prized position for the day. A ford, one of three on the course. 

First image below is of the approach as the dogs and mushers see it.

Next, my set up. Fantastic open light, lying flat on my stomach for a low angle view.

Third image is me in my makeshift gumboots 🤣 Spot the green bag mentioned in the last blog!! Had my hiking boots on, but they were not waterproof enough to walk through the water to my spot and stay dry. So, two plastic bags with large rubber bands to hold them up did the trick just fine.

Lastly, caught Laura and Mel checking out the ford and trail before race start.

Great Northern Classic II ford crossing
Great Northern Classic II ford crossing
Great Northern Classic II ford camera position
Great Northern Classic II trail check

Single dog scooter through the ford.

Great Northern Classic II single dog scooter
Great Northern Classic II single dog scooter
Great Northern Classic II single dog scooter
Great Northern Classic II single dog scooter

Then two dog scooters with a little more pace.

Great Northern Classic II two dog scooter
Great Northern Classic II two dog scooter
Great Northern Classic II two dog scooter
Great Northern Classic II two dog scooter

With the sun beaming down throughout the morning, the cold ground slowly heated up. This created a beautiful mist rising around the start/finish area.

The little kids race, known as Peewees, was run as the mist cleared.

Great Northern Classic II misty morning
Great Northern Classic II Peewee race

Veteran dog teams and Canicross finishing off the day.

Great Northern Classic II veterans
Great Northern Classic II canicross
Great Northern Classic II canicross

With blue skies overhead, the dogs were walked out, watered and settled in their trailers, vans or cars. Mushers reminiscing about the days events, as everyone readied to convoy out of the forest. 

Great Northern Classic II stories told
Great Northern Classic II dogs and trailer
Great Northern Classic II dog transport

Prizegiving was held back at the hall in Waiouru. 

Thanks heaps to Nardine for letting me jump in and travel up with her and the team and the comfy barracks accommodation, as well as Richard for having me join him in the lead vehicle of the convoy to grab photos of the convoy.

Big thanks also to Laura for giving me full access to all areas of the racing and Mel for photographic tips and encouragement.

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