Around Cook County
And they’re off! The Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race started this morning, Saturday, January 4 at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino. Fourteen mushers are on their way to Hungry Jack Lake for the end of the first stage of the race. Teams are expected to arrive starting at 1 p.m. Mushers are competing for a guaranteed $25,000 race purse.
The Gichigami Express is a three-day stage race. The first stage is 60 miles through the wilderness from Grand Portage to Hungry Jack Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. This evening there will be a banquet at Gunflint Lodge with stories of the history of mushing on the Gunflint Trail.
The second stage will start Sunday morning at 9 a.m. at Trail Center Lodge where a hearty breakfast will be available to everyone. Teams will travel approximately 60 miles following a trail that will end at The Landing at Devil Track. Teams are expected in around 1 p.m. That evening a banquet will be hosted by the American Legion Post 413 downtown Grand Marais at 6 p.m.. Everyone is welcome.
With high temperatures across Minnesota expected to be in the double digits below zero on Monday, Gov. Mark Dayton took the unusual step of cancelling schools statewide.
High temperatures in Cook County on Sunday are predicted to be 20 below zero with lows at 35 below. Monday’s highs are forecast at 13 below zero with lows at 24 below.
ISD 166 confirms Monday’s school cancellation, along with all extra curricular activities. This includes Night of the Notorious, which will be rescheduled.
The Cook County Vikings basketball games scheduled for today at Esko have been cancelled. Both ISD 166 and Great Expectations will have early dismissal today as well at 1:45 p.m.
Grand Marais Arctic adventurer Lonnie Dupre recently had to scrap his plans to attempt to become the first person to solo climb Mount McKinley [Denali], North America’s highest peak at 20,320 feet in January, the coldest darkest time of the year.
Dupre had made three previous attempts to reach Denali’s summit from 2011 to 2013 but was driven down the mountain each time by storms that kept him huddled in small hand-built snow caves for up to a week at a time.
“We would like to thank all of the folks who have followed and supported our endeavors over the years as well as our film, Cold Love, which is in its final stages,” said Dupre.
“As things would have it, this year’s winter climb of Denali will be postponed until December 12, 2014 due to logistical purposes. We will take this time into the new year to finish and promote our film Cold Love,” wrote Dupre on his Facebook page on December 20.
Over the course of his career Lonnie has traveled more than 15,000 miles throughout the high Arctic, either by dogsled, on skis, or on snowshoes.
In 2004 Dupre was given one of the highest honors an explorer can receive when he was presented with the Rolex Award for Enterprise to commemorate his efforts to raise awareness about the effects climate change has had on the coldest parts of our planet.
When contacted on December 28, Dupre said, “I wanted to dedicate more time to finish polishing the film for festivals which took away from the logistics for the climb. I’m looking forward to next year with vigor. Having a year off is a good thing and the mountain will always be there.
Cook County has a new Administrator, on the job for just three weeks. WTIPs Jay Andersen spoke with Jay Kieft (KEY-ft) about his new job
To take part in the Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race, the Grand Marais Art Colony is offering a special art contest. Stop by the Art Colony to participate in the Gichigami Express Coloring Contest Jan. 4-6, any time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Just fill in the artist-rendered drawing of the sled dog race. Creativity counts! Winners will be chosen from three age brackets: 0-5, 6-12, and 13 and older. Each winner will receive a $10 gift card to the Art Colony, plus the glory of appearing on the Art Colony facebook page.
The Grand Marais Art Colony is located just two blocks up the hill from the Java Moose at 120 W. 3rd Ave.
For more information about the coloring contest or the Art Colony, call (218) 387-2737.