Polly Evans had a mission: to learn everything possible about the howling, tail-wagging world of sled dogs. Fool’s errand? Or the adventure of a lifetime? The intrepid world traveler was about to find out.
In the dead of winter, Polly Evans ventured to Canada’s far northwest, where temperatures plunge to minus forty and the sun rises for just a few hours each day. But though she was prepared for the cold, she never anticipated how profoundly she’d be affected by that blissful and austere place. In a pristine landscape patrolled by wolves and caribou, the wannabe musher was soon learning the ropes of arctic dogsledding, careening across the silent tundra with her own team of yapping, leaping canines.
Shivering but undaunted, Polly follows the tracks of the legendary Yukon Quest, a dogsledding race more arduous than the Iditarod, witnessing a life-and-death spectacle she’ll never forget. Along the way she makes a stop at the Santa Clause house in North Pole, Alaska (where the post office delivers unstamped mail), and witnesses the astonishing northern lights weaving green and red across the sky. And before the snows melt in spring, Polly will have discovered a deep affection for the loving, mischievous huskies whose courage and enthusiasm escort her through the delights and dangers of living life at the extreme—in one of the most forbidding places on earth.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman|
|Release Date: 01-27-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Mad Dogs and an Englishwoman
I flew out on Friday, January 13, and returned home on April 1. The dates had almost selected themselves, but they seemed curiously appropriate, for I feared I was embarking on a fool's errand. I was going to spend eleven weeks, in the heart of winter, in one of the most inhospitable climates on earth.
The Yukon is a triangular-shaped territory in the far northwest of Canada. It borders Alaska to the west; at its northern tip lie the icy waters of the Beaufort Sea. Other people travel to the Yukon in the summer, when they can enjoy the long, balmy days that blend one into another with little darkness between. In September, though, the tourists pack their bags and leave. The attractions close. The museums' doors are bolted and the buses are laid up until May. Even most Canadian people, who so proudly extol their pitiless winters when basking comfortably in the sun elsewhere, shiver at the thought of coming this far north during the frozen months. The average temperature in the Yukon in January is minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but the mercury can plunge much lower. Temperatures dip regularly into the minus forties; once, they dived to minus 81.
But there's another side to winter in this harsh land. As the nights grow longer, the milky jade and blood red of the northern lights weave across the skies. The snowshoe rabbits' coats turn spotless white, and the Arctic foxes wear plush, dramatic furs. Winter has late blue dawns and the warm buttery light of the low midday sun. It has the jagged gems of hoarfrost and soft, feathery snow. Winter is the season of solitude and pure, glorious silence. And in winter, the sled dogs run.
It was the dogs that d