Sunday, March 13, 2011
iditarod 2011, the next installment....
eating a snack of gouda, apples and cadbury eggs. always tasty. though actually the apples are a bit soft. i like a good crunch in an apple and apple disappointment is the worst. this is one reason why i tend towards foods that are bad for me at times. i mean a hoho is always going to taste like a hoho. with fruit and veggies you can spend your money and end up with imperfect fruit.
but you are not at this site to discuss my eating habits. you are probably hear to catch a glimpse of the iditarod. well, it's looking like it may be an exciting finish. if you don't watch the race year to year, it's often obvious who will be winning by this time. not so this year.
jon baker is out of shaktoolik, followed very closely (under 1 hour) by ramey smyth and hans gatt. not too far behind (under 2 hours) are hugh neff and sebastian schnuelle. all the teams are looking great by report and it could come down to a pretty close race to nome. very exciting. the native population is very excited as i believe a native alaskan has never won and jon baker is native. he is from kotzebue. the natives they have shown on the video's are all smiles and full of pride to see one of thier own in the lead. would be pretty cool for them to have that win.
the dogs above and below are from the teams of ellen halverson and mike santo's i believe. didn't always get good musher shots. more into the dogs. santos is a rookie. halverson has run once or twice. she got the red lantern award one year. that is for the last one on the trail. liking the green booties.
the sled below belongs to mitch seavey. he is out of the race but back at the race. he's all bandaged up. he's been doing talking points and video clips analyzing the racers and such. quick job change for him. kinda cool for him probably since he can't finish to at least be there and to be able to watch his son race.
another musher looked to be bandaged up as well, though i believe it was duct tape in his case. that guys arm apparently has a tendency to come out of joint. he rode to the next check point and some volunteer, who happen to be in medicine, put it back in. this was painful, but he's duct taped together and carrying on. i'm trying to think where i saw that at. hmm. when i find it again i'll tell you who the musher is.
i know seavey was bummed as he had a great team going. must be tough to have to stop when the team is doing so well. like you've let down the dogs in thier big moment. i did see a few sled dog trucks headed down the kenai as i did a little sunday drive today. could be dropped dogs from the iditarod heading home or it could be different sled dog races in town. i did see some dog trucks at tozier track as i drove back through anchorage.
really should have popped a bottle of wine. i'm off a few days. chocolate, cheese and wine is always a lovely combination. there i go with my eating habits again. stopped at the grocery this evening and as i was in line i noticed another one of those star rag magazines. whatever you call them. they come up with these, "look who has cellulite" issues. the lady in line in front of me had noticed them as well. i looked at her and we both laughed and i said, "nice to see there is a downside to being rich and famous" and tossed a nestle crunch bar on the counter. nice to not have paparrazi taking pictures or my arse and cellulite.
the mushers are hitting the coast...at least those in the lead. i think the ones in the back of the back are still back in tokotna even. if they get too far behind they will be asked to drop. the leaders are within a few hundred miles of nome. the winds on the coast can be fierce and so that can test the teams out there. that could be an advantage for baker as his dogs live in kotzebue so are used to the winds and weather that can exist out there.
so here is my official mitch seavey shot.
tongues and spit. a bit of spit at my house as well. a mastiff can always work up some spit and blossoms tennis balls usually get pretty soaked. we lost her tennis ball to the creek today. dogs just don't get current. i've been able to get her to understand gravity. when she drops her toy and it rolls down hill. she of course, looks right where she dropped it. i just say "gravity" and she looks down the hill. current has escaped her. so today the toy dropped in the water. i sent her in after it. she got it, then proceeded to drop it in her excitement to be swimming. it then got sucked under the ice and lost forever. she stayed in the water some time working on the bank of ice trying to get the thing. quite unfortunate for blossom. so disappointing.
these dogs have no interest in tennis balls. they do seem to thrive on attention. i had thought they'd be a bunch of skittish dogs, but all that i've met have been pretty outgoing and social. the bigger kennels have several different handlers and the dogs actually get a fair amount of attention. many dogs across the country are lucky to get a walk once a week. my dogs have it good as do many sled dogs.
well, this is santo's here so perhaps those first dogs belonged to judy currier, who i believe has already scratched.
yes, yes, i'm backwards of course, so next is number 26, halverson.
today i took the dogs to the dog park and then took a drive out to portage lake, stopping many times along the way. the sun was bright so we'll have to see what pictures look like. all that bright like can make for flat pictures. i actually prefer a few clouds to add contrast and interest. we've had few clouds for weeks though. cold at night warms during day. warming, again, means getting up into the 30's.
portage lake was beautiful. several folks out there. i got a late start so wasn't thinking i'd walk all the way to the glacier...it's maybe 2-3 miles across the lake to the glacier front. i'm always a little nervous walking on big lakes anyway. probably something to do with growing up in california and never seeing any body of water frozen before i moved to south dakota. it just doesn't seem right. of course, i got part way out there, chatting with folks, then i took a step and there was this big crack sound that echoed. scared the crap out of me. before i could think what to do next, the mom in the family just ahead of me calls out, "okay, turn around, we're heading back". she had a mom voice and i just listened to her....seemed like the right thing to do.
there was just that super sized quake in japan and i think we are all connected. doesn't seem like a remote possibility that all these recent large quakes aren't related somehow. this girl doesn't want to be on a frozen lake if said quake happens. okay, so i can be a wee big chicken at times. think i did get a few good pictures. i'll start back on my regular alaskan hiking shots once the race is over or i get bored with the dog pictures or if i get some notes from readers begging me to not show anymore dogs pictures.
i was on the ice trying to attempt a macro shot when a guy started talking to me. i mentioned my concern regarding the big quake and being on a frozen lake. he then told me that he had been diverted to anchorage. he was flying to japan and with the quake his plane came to alaska instead. he's just trying to make the best of it and turn it into a mini vacation.
the damage there appears to be pretty significant. the numbers of people missing seems to be growing by the hour. so now they suspect the human toll will be much higher than originally thought. looking more at 10,000 people. seems like the tsunami has caused the most damage, more devastating than the actual quake itself. also there was some sort of explosion at the nuclear power plant so that could make this all much worse and more global. on our news it was said that we are not at risk of radiation exposure at this time. guess people from alaska have been stocking up on iodine or trying to anyway.
that bib number looks like a 25 perhaps. that would be tom thurston from colorado. he's currently in the back of the pack with halverson. i think they are like 49th and 50th or something. i think i don't have a picture of snodgrass either. he's number 24. i suspect some of the dogs are represented.
this dog was especially cute i thought.
then, check out this guy. those ears are adorable. it's rare that humans get positive comments on thier ears. dogs ears are especially cute though.
mackey has pretty much come out and said he has no chance of winning this year. being mackey, he didn't seem disappointed in the least. seemed to be happy and smiling. i think he just loves being on the trail with his dogs. he's got down to 9 dogs pretty fast this year, but those nine have hung tough. the kennel cough seems to be slowing down. blossom probably got exposed herself as there was a dog on the lake today that was off leash so blossom ambled over to say hello. the owners were trying to keep the dogs seperate as they explained their dog was recovering from the kennel cough. blossom has had vaccines so i suppose even if she gets it, it should be a milder form.
i was apparently exposed to TB over the past month. will have to get a second recheck here in a few months. just had one a few weeks ago. in other jobs of nursing. if they suspected tb enough to request a test, the patient was put in the special room and we wore special masks until they were ruled out. i didn't even know they'd sent a tb test out. lots of resistent out there...wouldn't want to get that.
these guys look ready to run to nome.
since they belong to hans gatt they should be getting very close at about now. he's within reach of the win. he lives in whitehorse, yukon, canada. have been there a few times. was there actually on sept 11, 2001 as i moved from ketchikan to anchorage. last year he won the quest and came in second in the iditarod behind lance by less than one hour. one hour in a race that lasts 9-10 days is almost a photo finish in this sport.
i'm sure those handle bar gloves will come in handy on this last section. i associate those more with local bikers. they are a crazy bunch up here. i've seen them commute by bike on the worst of days. of course, this may become more and more routine as the gas prices continue to rise.
above is #22 magnus kaltenborn from norway. he is a rookie, currently in 37th place. he has the young dogs from martin busers kennel. buser, who led much of the race is now in 15th place.
rio is munching on the leftover bits of apple. she loves apples. can smell them even when they are uncut. her nose is pretty amazing. i know many dogs with tracking and search and rescue skills are headed to japan to help out. those dogs are amazing. actually all dogs are. they are so versatile and humans have benefitted many times over from our association with dogs. i am always a bit suspect of people who don't like dogs or don't form any attachment to them. much to be learned and gained from spending time with animals. many mushers talk about how you get to know all the dogs on your team out there on the trail. something about spending that much time dog:human.
my cat just jumped in my lap. my poor needy cat. he's a lap cat. he does miss mufasa i can tell. i'll have to find him a cat companion. these dogs just aren't cutting it for him. overall, cats have never been domesticated to the extent that dogs have. don't think it's possible.
my cat has a pretty decent life. i think dog vs cats i'm more dog than cat.
this is dallas seavey. mitch seavey's son. he's young. a good looking kid, not alot of personality comes through in his video clips. seems to be a good musher and getting better. he won the quest this year. he's place in the top 10 in a few iditarods and is currently in 6th place. definitely one to watch. he's the youngest winner of the quest and could concievable get that record in the iditarod as well. probably been on runners since he could stand.
this next musher is #20 kelley griffin of wasilla. liked the old style wooden snowshoes. she was having some trouble getting onto the lake with her team. they kept stopping or going in different directions. i think one dog even got tangled up a bit with a spectator.
she's in 24th position so not doing as poorly as i expected by the looks of her confused team. could just be the start jitters and the crowd can also impact the dogs, if they are unused to all the festivities at the start. she did finish 5th in this years quest. not sure how many started this years quest. weather was crap for it though. a total change from the iditarod this year, which so far has had pretty sweet run, weather wise.
stoppage of play.
the movie i watched last night was crap. watching sherlock holmes which i already knew i'd like. i've stepped out a few times glancing for norther lights. i'm all happy in my warm house though so not feeling like meandering in the cold and dark. headed to the refuge this evening to try and catch the sunset. just missed it. oh well. pretty drive out there and blossom got in an evening stroll. the sun set about 8 p with the time change and all.
guess i'm not getting any baking in tonight for tomorrows dog walk . maybe i'll wake early in the morning and put something in. cowboy coffee cake is always good and easy....and the batter is good. that could be breakfast.
this moose wandered out onto long lake. luckily it was scared off by all the activities before griffin came through with her scattered dogs. moose encounters on the trail can be treacherous. hard to stop a team of running dogs on a dime, it just doesn't happen. i know there have been a few encounters on the iditarod run over the years. moose and buffalo live out there.
here the moose is booking into the woods.