Kevin Callan Reviews: Journey of 1000 Miles

by Kevin Callan

Good news. Hank and Tanya’s second book – Journey of 1000 Miles – is now out in paperback form. It’s an incredible adventure!

I’ve spent time with Hank and Tanya and their dogs at their Winterdance Dogsled Tours business in Haliburton, Ontario. They truly live an amazing life, and their latest book depicts it perfectly. The book begins where their previous book left off.

Hank deals with his disappointment over the 2010 Iditarod race by simply taking on another dog sled challenge: the 2011 Yukon Quest (a much tougher 1,000-mile cousin to the Iditarod, labeled the “Toughest Sled Dog Race in the World”!). The story is solid and greatly illustrates the life of a dog musher and his team of 14 Siberian Huskies traveling for two weeks through a frozen wilderness, complete with blizzards, snowcapped mountain ranges, and -60 C temperatures.

Here’s an excerpt:

Journey of 1000 Miles: A Musher and His Huskies’ Journey on the Yukon Quest’s Century-Old Klondike Trails

By: Hank Debruin and Tanya McCready

Late the next afternoon, I headed out for a good long run with the team. A 14-hour camping run through the night was the plan, and I strapped a bale of straw on the top of the sled for the dogs’ beds when we stopped for a break that night. The run went like clockwork and around 10 p.m. we came across a nice clearing to camp. I shook the straw out for the dogs and they settled into it pretty quickly as I started the cooker and filled it with snow. By the time I had their booties all off and checked everyone’s feet, the snow had turned to steaming water and I added in the frozen hamburger. Ten minutes later, it had all thawed into a nice soup as I ladled it into the bowls with kibble. The 38 dogs were all content, and, as I served them their meal, they all wolved it down. Before I even had all the bowls picked up, they were curled up, peacefully sleeping. I pulled out my sleeping bag from the sled, a Cabela’s -40°C bag that would easily keep me warm on this -25°C night, and I laid it out in the straw with the dogs. I found myself tossing and turning and drifting off only to wake up soon after chilled, despite the bag.

Finally, I warmed up and fell into a good sleep like the dogs. When I woke, I realized I had slept 2 hours more than I had planned. I was also sweating I was so warm. Starting to roll over, I realized why. Scully had at some point wiggled into the sleeping bag with me and was asleep on my chest. Zeus had curled himself up around my head, neck, and shoulders. This was no one-way relationship we shared—they looked after me as much as I looked after them!

By: Hank Debruin

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