When I left for my dog sledding trip I decided that I would get into the spirit of things with a book for the trip. Wintergreen had listed Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen as a suggested read, so I picked up a copy before I left town. The book was the perfect length of read for a few days in the woods with the dogs.

Winterdance is a really enjoyable read. The book is divided into two major sections as Paulsen prepares and trains for the Iditarod and the more than 1,100 miles of the race (Wikipedia has an excellent Iditarod reference to learn more). The book has several stories that make you laugh out loud when Paulsen discovers the power of the dogs. It was fun to read while on a dog sledding trip as I could truly understand the insanity of putting yourself on a bicycle behind a team of dogs. What was he thinking!

The second half of the book gives insight into this amazing race that I never really knew. It made me really want to learn more and definitely gave a deeper appreciation for the challenges of it. I’m making a note on my calendar now to remind when the 2009 Iditarod is (Sat. March 7th, 2009 if you don’t want to look yourself).

Reading this book and having the howl of the sled dogs fresh in my mind was really great. I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t been made into a movie. It would be a perfect movie plot with all the required ingredients. If you’re heading up into the snow, or better, on a dog sledding trip – I don’t think you could beat this book. Even without the snow, it’s a good read.

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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