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home : premium content : news May 29, 2016

2/1/2013 1:15:00 PM
Cascade Quest Sled Dog race comes back
Photo courtesy of Bonnie Leary
Junior musher Jenny Greger of Bozeman, Mont. charges to a second place finish minutes behind the leader in the 2011 Cascade Quest 8-12 dog 100-mile stage race.
Photo courtesy of Bonnie Leary
Junior musher Jenny Greger of Bozeman, Mont. charges to a second place finish minutes behind the leader in the 2011 Cascade Quest 8-12 dog 100-mile stage race.

Ian Dunn

The Cascade Quest Sled Dog Race is back in 2013 after taking a year off. In fact, the race was dangling on life support last year when no one wanted to step up as race director.

New Race Director Kaylee Porter, whose family has been involved with the race for eight or nine years, said she wanted it to happen so she stepped up to lead the event.

"I knew that if it didn't happen this year it probably never will again. It's always been a big part of our family's winter," Porter said. "We love going out to Trinity. We love all our musher friends that come out and do it. It's just a cool tradition in this area, and I didn't want it to die."

Mother Nature also conspired to cancel the race when hundreds of trees came falling down in the Lake Wenatchee area in December, including all over the race course trails. Porter's family was without power for the better part of two weeks. They were forced to leave their house on Chiwawa Loop Road, one of the hardest hit areas.

Just getting back to feed their dogs was problematic, but they managed. But they did lose the biggest part of the season for their dog sled business.

"It was huge. We were concerned about the Quest because there was a ton of trees coming down on the trails we use. One of the trails is still closed, so we might have to go around it," she said. "It was not safe to run dogs. On the main trail, there were so many trees coming down. It was closed to snowmobiles, dogs, everyone. They finally got it open."

Porter said it has been a lot of work to clear the trees from the trails. Restoring the trails to Trinity was a major undertaking with some 30 trees to remove. Finally, she said, they were able to get in there with a groomer.

Now, the trails are looking good. The little bit of extra snow has helped greatly. Porter figures will be a fast, fun trail for everyone.

There are 21 mushers signed up for the race, which she said is not bad, considering there were 29 teams in 2011. The Cascade Quest has three classes of racing, the 100 mile 8-12 Dog Stage Race, the 75 mile Six Dog Stage Race and the 24 mile 2-6 Dog Sporting/Recreation Class. The Sporting/Recreation Class also include 1-3 dog Skijorers.

Everything starts on Friday, Feb. 1 as the Six Dog Stage Race begin at 3 p.m., while the 8-12 Dog Stage Race starts are 4 p.m. at the Lake Wenatchee Recreation Club. Both these races stop and stay the night at Trinity.

On Saturday, Feb. 2 from 7 to 11 a.m., there's a pancake breakfast benefitting the Lake Wenatchee Rec. Club radio fund. The Sporting Class starts at 9 a.m. Dog sled rides are offered from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. At 3 p.m. is the Sponsor Recognition Banquet.

On Sunday, Feb. 3, there is another breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. The 8-12 Dog Teams re-start at 9 a.m. The Six Dog Teams re-start at 9:30 a.m. The Sporting /Recreation Class starts at 10 a.m. Racers should start coming across the finish line from around 11 a.m. to noon. The awards presentation is at 2 p.m.

"There's a lot of people coming back that do it every year," she said. "I think the main thing is people love going up to Trinity because it is really cool up there. I think people are definitely excited about it. It is always a lot of fun."

Racers stay in the musher cabin at Trinity, the former mining camp. Many times racers choose to brave the cold and sleep with their dogs, Porter said.

Best place for spectators is the Lake Wenatchee Rec Club. You'll find some educational displays and food in the clubhouse. You will have a chance to meet and talk to the mushers. Parking is complementary. Of course, they love dogs, but you are asked to leave your pets at home.

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or

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