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CopperDog 150 - Stage 2

Where stage 1 out of the downtown Calumet provides fans with a healthy dose of excitement and energy, the Eagle Harbor checkpoint stands in stark relief; a small, remote and quiet community that quadruples in population as mushers and dogs bed down before moving north towards Copper Harbor on Saturday morning.

Dog trucks will fill every nook and cranny of Eagle Harbor and many mushers will sleep in their rigs. About four blocks from the start is the Community Center which will be dry and warm and offers a hard floor to sleep on, so bring your sleeping pads and bags if you would rather not sleep in your truck. Mushers can enjoy a hot breakfast at the Eagle Harbor Inn who puts out an early breakfast buffet.

The Eagle Harbor checkpoint is stage racing at its simplest. Race officials start early Saturday morning locating all of the teams, drawing maps, and lining up handlers to help dog teams back to the starting line. Teams depart in reverse order (slowest to fastest) which means lots of passing action for mushers and excitement for volunteers as teams come through crossings back to back.

Stage 2 is 44.3 miles, mostly snowmobile trail, but with some "back country" trail where conditions are more unpredictable. The backcountry trail is often in excellent condition, but at times has been punchy or deep requiring teams to break trail. In 2013, speeds varied from 8.6 to 13.4 mph with an average between 10 and 11 mph.

The "police tower" has been removed as of 2014 and the milage made up with a loop around Hoar Lake. The police tower trail was very difficult for the race organization to groom and maintain and presented a very challenging climb and slow progress late in stage 2. Hoar Lake is intended to be better groomed and a little less aggressive. Weather conditions will play a huge impact on the condition of this section of trail.

Mushers will see the fewest volunteers of the weekend over stage 2. With only a handful of road crossings, mushers will enjoy some quality time with their dogs on the trail. Arriving in Copper Harbor mushers have a mandatory vet check. Teams are checked in the order they arrive.

Copper Harbor is a wonderful place for teams to enjoy an extended layover leaving lots of time to have dinners and drinks at The Pines Resort, The Tamarack Inn Restaurant and The Mariner North

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