It was 61 years ago this week and the front page of the local newspaper was reporting on a matter of great interest to residents of the Twin Cities.

“Where is Mush Moore now? How’s he doing? What’s happening?”

It had been three months since Lewiston resident Cecil “Mush” Moore had set out with his sled-dog team from Fairbanks, Alaska, on a 6,000 mile trans-continental journey that would be the longest such trek in history … if he could make it.

That Lewiston Evening Journal progress report on Feb. 25, 1950, included a front page photo of Moore and his custom-made all metal Flexible Flyer dog sled.

The Lewiston adventurer’s progress was being followed in frequent updates written by veteran Journal reporter Arch Soutar whenever he received letters from Moore.

Soutar said Moore should have been in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, by that February 1950 date. The story quoted Moore’s latest letter, which said, “The weather now is only 14 below, which seems like Spring in comparison with what I have been through.”

It was a constant challenge to keep the dog team in good health, and Moore told of a serious bout with pneumonia that threatened the life of Kobuk, his big white Siberian. A Canadian army doctor gave Moore sulfa drugs to nurse the dog back to health.

Another incident that nearly killed a dog took place as the team was passing some unattended horses which were common on the trail.

“We were passing five of them that day when one of my dogs made a start at one. Well, she was kicked brutally and lifted several feet into the air. Then the horse trampled her,” Moore wrote.

“I almost lost that dog then and there, but she’s rugged and strong and came out of it alive.”

The welfare of his dogs was mentioned often in Moore’s letters. He told how important it was to plan for arrivals at camps where food would be available, because packing provisions for 10 dogs on the sled was impossible.

Moore’s letters were filled with exciting details of the trip through the frozen wilderness. He told of attacks by wolves, which devoured one of his dogs and her pups. He recalled nights under a full moon when the packs of timber wolves could be heard and seen approaching the night’s fire.

That first part of the trip was grueling by any standard, but “Mush” Moore had a long way to go and more than a year of travel still ahead of him. When the route left the snow-covered northern trails, the sled continued on wheels.

Moore made many friends along the way. Newspapers, radio and television reporters interviewed him, and he took every opportunity to tell people about his home on Elm Street in Lewiston. Maine.

The conclusion of “Mush” Moore’s 6,000-mile record-breaking trip for distance by dog-sled came on April 4, 1951. It was about a year and three months after his start.

Crowds met Moore in Lewiston and Auburn on a day when the Androscoggin River was at flood-stage. There was also news of fighting in Korea, but the front page was mostly filled with photos of Moore’s hometown neighbors cheering his arrival.

Soutar’s story of the finish said, “Honors had been showered on this ex-steel worker. Tiny hamlets of fur traders in the great, frozen Northwest had offered him their humble best. Chicago, teeming metropolis of the Mid-West, had presented him with the keys of the city. New York thrilled as this bearded son of the State of Maine dashed down Park Avenue with his huskies and specially-constructed dog sled.”

Moore told the people of L-A, “My dream of a lifetime has come true.”

But Moore didn’t boast about his role in the great accomplishment. He gave all the credit to his beloved dogs.

The trip had been undertaken for the benefit of the Cecil A. Moore Fund for underprivileged children, and the Lions Club of Lewiston participated in its sponsorship.


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