I recently confirmed some amazing and exciting clinic rotation plans for February of 2019. I know that is quite a ways away, but it is never too early to plan for important things in life. I will be going to the Yukon Territory for the Yukon Quest sled dog race to complete a research project that will serve as the senior project that every 4th year must complete here at Cornell.
I learned about the Yukon Quest through my interest in one day owning sled dogs. I have always felt that sled dogs were fun to work with, as we share a mutual passion for running and being outdoors as a necessary part of life. I spent time in high school in Maine exercising a friend’s Alaskan Husky, and I have continued to do the same for a neighbor here during my time at Cornell. I don’t know if I will ever own a full team of dogs, but I would at least like to have one or two to skijor, run, and hike with. My current dog fills most of those needs, but he does not have a pulling instinct, nor does he have any desire to run much over 7 miles! He does do long hikes with me, which have been a complete joy to partake in for both of us.
My partner brought a book home for me one day. The book was about the Yukon Quest. After reading the book and consulting with my professor at school that does sled dog research, I knew that the plans had to be made. I would go up to the Yukon Territory and do my senior project on a topic of sled dog metabolism. The exact topic is yet to be determined, but the project will come together in the next year.
Being from Maine, I am used to the cold. However, the coldest temperature I have ever experienced is probably around -20℉ (-29℃). The temperatures in the Yukon territory can get even colder than that. I will need to prepare myself to experience this cold while working with the dogs. This work will involve lots of blood drawing, moving dogs around, and restraining them before their musher allows them to take off. Luckily, some physical activity should keep my body temperature up in the cold dark times up there!