On March 5th, 2022, the second Dawg Daze event took place at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. Dawg Daze is an annual event that celebrates winter, trails, and dogs.
The inaugural Dawg Daze was held in February 2021, during the first year the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge was fully and properly open year-round since being established in 1934. As the Lodge continues to focus on outdoor activities and providing unique events that bring fun, joy, and adventure to the Keweenaw, this skijoring event is fits into that category. Having a skijoring event at a historic venue in the wilderness offers guests an enjoyable outdoor experience in the wilderness.
Dawg Daze consists of main activities: the Perimeter Dog Derby and the Dog and Human Costume Contest.
Contrary to the 2021 event where the weather and the trails were superb, the weather forecast for this year’s event (i.e. the weather forecast for Saturday, March 5th) was not looking good. Storm alerts stated “Freezing rain leading to extremely hazardous slick roads” and “roads will be extremely treacherous.” In the morning Calumet and Houghton experienced some freezing rain causing the roads down the peninsula to be somewhat sketchy. Fortunately the weather at the Lodge was milder with some early morning snow. During the event we could see storm clouds all around us with some light precipitation coming down, however, the event was spared from a major soaking.
Eight teams of humans and dogs, and a dozen spectators, braved the sketchy roads to partake in the Perimeter Dog Derby. This skijoring race is 2.1 kms (1.3 miles) and circumnavigates the Lodge’s golf course on our Perimeter Loop cross country ski trail.
There are only four rules to this lighthearted event:
- Only 1 dog and 1 person per team.
- Dog must be leashed or tethered at all times.
- A specific team only gets one chance around the course.
- You can start anytime between 11am and 1pm. There will be no starts after 1pm.
The course had an extra “challenge” this year because we were not able to groom the course before the race. Our John Deere Gator which pulls our grooming equipment was in the shop with an issue with one of it’s treads. Some spots on the course had about an inch of fresh snow while others spots had drifts almost a foot deep. The first team out used Altai Skis (rented from the Lodge) and came across the finish line with smiles on their faces – and with their jackets open, as they realized they had overdressed for the physically challenging event.
Seven other teams completed the course with smiles and drools on their faces. For some teams, the dog pulled the human; while for other teams, the human led the dog.
One of the scenic highlights of the course is coming up the finishing hill along the first fairway of the golf course, with Brockway Mountain looming in the background.
First place was awarded to Thor and Bobbi (center) with a time of 9:04. Ripley and Conner (left) came in second with a time of 10:21 and Maple and Jake (right) rounded out the top three with a time of 11:11.
After the Perimeter Dog Derby, the group gathered under the porte-cochere at the front of the Lodge for the awards and the remainder of the fun events.
The human and dog costume contest had only one entrant this year; Leprechaun Allie with her pot of gold Maple. These two brought a positive energy back to the crowd – can we say they “raised the woof?”
The new additions to the Dawg Daze event were awards for best trick and furriest dog. Almost every dog had a trick or two up their paw, but Quincy took home top honors with “Feet” – a cute dancing move with his owner Jaime. To decide who was the winner instead of judges the crowd was asked to raise their hands and paws to vote for top dawg. This was a fun way to engage the whole group and helped create a spirit of camaraderie for the day.
The final event was the furriest dog. Once again Thor was victorious with all his glorious fur. Dogs were awarded bags of homemade dog treats made by the KML kitchen staff. This made us think maybe the human with the furriest dog should win a lint/hair brush?
We do not charge a fee to participate in the event, but offer the event to the guests as an opportunity to contribute to the activities of the Copper Country Humane Society. The 2022 Dawg Daze event raised $55 for the humane society.
Additionally, a group of fearless dogs and humans navigated treacherous roads and a challenging course with the mission to have a good time (and some exercise.). One of the Lodge’s core values is to “look conflict in the eye and gracefully wipe it out” and everyone at the Lodge that day used this mantra.
We invite all dogs and dog lovers to join us next year for our third installment of this fun, joyous, and adventuresome event.
Please see our Calendar of Events for upcoming things to do at the Lodge.
Chris Guibert: I have a strong passion for all things outdoors and have worked as a tour guide and professional photographer for the last twenty five years. As the Lead of Outdoor Activities at the Mountain Lodge I want make sure you and your family have a great experience while staying and playing. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the trails, regional activities and local secrets.