MOHAWK, Mich. (WLUC) - Jaye Foucher, originally from Wentworth, New Hampshire, has temporarily relocated to Mohawk to train her dog sled team through the fall and winter due to the amount of snow the area receives.
Musher Jaye Foucher preparing to take her dogs on a training run. (WLUC Photo)
"It's been great. I've just gotten a lot of training that I wouldn't have been able to get on the East Coast, and I really enjoy the mushing community out here. It's really fantastic. There's a lot of mushers in the area and the U.P., and they've been very welcoming to me," said Foucher.
Foucher began mushing in the year 2000 after looking for a winter activity to do with her first Siberian husky.
"I went to my first race that following winter in 2001 and I was just hooked. I have a competitive streak and it just looked like a lot of fun. So a couple years later I moved to New Hampshire, and started building my kennel, basically," said Foucher.
Currently Foucher breeds all of the dogs she races with and has a kennel of 23 huskies in training for the UP200 race, a qualifying race for the Iditarod.
"Every year we do have a few mushers that want to go through that routine, they do have to have special paperwork for that. It's a little bit different how they run the race, they do have an unassisted checkpoint they have to do on their own. It does work as an Iditarod qualifier, and of course that adds to the reputation of the race," said Darlene Walch, President of the U.P. Sled Dog Association.
The Iditarod, a nearly 1,000-mile race in Alaska from Anchorage to Nome, is considered the Super Bowl of dog sled racing. Participating is Foucher's ultimate goal.
"They say there's less people that have finished the Iditarod than have climbed Mount Everest. It's a very difficult race and I look forward to the challenge of doing it. I've been reading about it, watching videos, and watching YouTube clips of it for years," said Foucher.
While the future is uncertain, Foucher hopes to keep racing for years to come.
"Iditarod, and then I'm not sure, you know? I'm sure I'll continue doing these longer races here in the Midwest and on the East Coast. I love being out there. Something about the long races just drives me, I guess, so I can't see giving that up," added Foucher.