Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Musher Closing in on New Brunswick Destination after 100 Days of Sledding

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Musher Closing in on New Brunswick Destination after 100 Days of Sledding

Article excerpt

Musher nearing home after 100 day, 3,000 km trek

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A New Brunswick man making his way across Canada on a dog sled says he's on track to arrive at his final destination in a week's time after being set back by warm weather and flooding.

Justin Allen was originally slated to arrive in Saint John, N.B., in mid-April, but said in a phone interview Saturday from Perth-Andover, N.B., that he was forced to do daily route reassessments to contend with muddy trails and washed out roads caused in part by the flooded Saint John River.

The 34-year-old is in the final stretch of mushing from Manitoba to his home province of New Brunswick, and is expected to roll into Saint John on Sunday, May 13.

"Yeah, it's slowing us down a little bit," said Allen of the ever-changing weather conditions. "But I guess it needs to be a bit more challenging to make it all the sweeter when we get there."

Allen embarked from Churchill, Man., near the end of January, and he's spent more than 100 days travelling through the vast expanses of Canada, towed along by his 12 Alaskan huskies: Acer, Goldie, Alpine, Ash, Bella, J.T., Mouse, Howler, Juniper, Sequoia, Willow and Tamarack.

Seeing the frozen landscape and the tree-lined trails throughout the country was a nice bonus, but Allen said the highlight of his trip was watching his dogs mature.

"It's not my journey, it's their journey," he said. "Watching them grow, and develop, learn, and have all these new experiences, that's been an honour, that's been a blessing."

As temperatures climbed into the positives and snow began to melt, Allen traded in his sled runners for wheels instead, now alternating between a fat bike and a stripped-down all-terrain vehicle.

Originally from New Brunswick, Allen spent the past six years living in Manitoba volunteering at a dog kennel and learning about mushing from an Indigenous mentor. …

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