For musher Jane Devlin, dog sledding isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
“It’s huge. It takes all your money, all your time, all your love. Everything goes on hold and it’s all worth it,” Devlin said.
She’s been mushing dogs for 17 years and is preparing for the upcoming two-day Idaho Sled Dog Challenge, which starts next week.
It’s a 56-mile race for Devlin and her team of eight dogs — a moderately short stretch for the musher.
“I like the hundreds. I like going out 50 miles, camping out with my dogs with no technology and coming back 50 miles. That’s my favorite,” Devlin said.
It’s not always about the competition for Devlin, either. She strives to honor the history of the sport by delivering mail.
She says the dogs were bred to deliver supplies and medicine to remote villages.
“We get sworn in as mail carriers and we carry the mail from Quesnel, British Columbia, to Barkerville, British Columbia,” Devlin said. “There all sizes of teams. There’ll be people on skis, there’ll be people on little teams. You can have a Doodle. We just want people to have fun.”
That’s a 106-mile round trip. But before she hits the mail run, she’ll be racing in McCall, Idaho on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.