Saturday, March 3, 2012

ceremonial iditarod start 2012, part 1

even when i'm not trying i take loads of photo's. met my friend sandra downtown to take in the sights and sounds of the ceremonial start! i'd actually never gone downtown for this before. seems i've always been working the night before and i usually wake up early, turn on tv to see where they are downtown and then go to the area around university lake to watch whatever teams are left pass by. it was fun to experience the downtown mayhem of it all.
just thought this pup looked awful cute! what a sweet face! the main streets and several side streets are closed off and the teams all set up on the side roads and in the area before the "start". we wandered around to see who we could see before the race started and continued wandering during the starts. i was chill with this. allowed me to see all the various angles of places to be and what to see. sandra has gone several years so she gave me the tour. it was fun checking all out. there are tons of volunteers and family and press and stuff inside the gated areas. we decided a new rule should be initiated deeming all within the fenced zone must be 5'5" or less. those tall people really obstruct the view. makes photo ops difficult. then it seems many in the area are not really volunteers so much as just lucky enough to take pictures from the other side of the fence.i wasn't in some major photography mode. hopefully, will have a settled spot tomorrow to watch the teams go by and try and get decent photo's. these are all from my little cheap camera. will post more tomorrow from the zoom. no doubt it will be like last year and i'll have so many pictures i will slowly post them through the week with some updates on the race. not that i am any sort of iditarod expert, but i can read and pick up the stuff i think is cool.
okay. the above picture makes me giggle every time i look at it. loved that scooby do showed up. alaskans take every opportunity, especially in the long winters, to dress up. so yes, i'm a goof as i think this dude cruising around as scoobydo is hilarious!!we cruised around the side streets then wandered up the road, crossed over, crossed back and then went up to the third floor of the parking structure. a good place for watching. some cool pictures as it's a fun vantage point. for me, i wouldn't want to stay up there the whole time, picture taking wise, but if you are just watching the teams...great spot! the ceremonial start doesn't have any bearing on the actual race which starts tomorrow out of willow. it was a more festive feeling as the teams prepared for todays 12 mile run. tomorrow they will be more focused as they get the sled packed for anything and everything that can happen on a nearly 1000 mile run. not actually 1000 miles. funny as i think the yukon quest is longer. hugh neff i believe won that one this year, by 26 seconds!!! big smiles. always like him. his dogs will be dressed in cat n the hat attire today! so cute. he promotes literacy. the fur rondy is still going on for a few more days. pretty cool seeing streets that are usually full of cars full of dog teams. i believe this is mitch seavey. his son, dallas, and his father, dan are also in this years iditarod. pretty amazing to have 3 generations involved. dan seavey ran in the very first iditarod in 1973. he is 74. quite an undertaking for anyone, but my body aches just walking all over the place today. of course, they took the switchbacks out that every year cause such grief. kinda liked that they were there. a big challenge for all. lots of spills and falls. the dogs seem to have a blast with it though and the video's were awesome!!the race will follow the northern route and the total mileage is 975...just looked. as with the fur rondy events, the iditarod is the time for all in alaska to bring out their furs. i know many are against anything with real fur. i do not own any fur hats/gloves or coats. they tend to be pretty spendy and if i spent that much i'd fear wearing it and getting it ruined. of course, the natives live in furs and have for years as they are very efficient at warming you up. i did look at a very cute, but spendy hat today. it's always tempting, but if i buy anything i think i'd go through the natives. i just feel they are most likely to use everything they can from the killed animal. the hat i looked at today was the result of trapping and i really can't support the whole trapping thing. i know people gotta make thier living and trappings been around along time. it just doesn't seem like a pleasant death though. bullet is more kind overall. everytime i post one of the pictures like above, i usually get some comment on facebook about fur's and all. that is why i just put that out there. it's part of the culture up here and at these events you will see all sorts of furs and will find even more available for purchase.there are many volunteer opportunities at the iditarod. many people fly up here just for this and love volunteering each year. it's a spendy sport so they do appreciate the volunteers. i've had friends be dog handlers and they all had a great time of it. they help the teams get ready, assist them at the starts and then let the dogs go. the dogs are incredibly strong and love to run! there are over 1000 dogs that run. i always say a little prayer for the safety of all. many are against the those who don't like fur coats. again this is part of the culture up here. i've watched the dogs and they do love to run. there are bad elements out there and there are individuals that can be horrible and cruel and they are what people focus on when it comes to the sport. i hate in any aspect of life when people punish all for the bad behaviour of one. the people who put on the race are always trying to make the best decisions based on the dogs. i think they do a dang good job. there are veterinarians at the various checkpoints. dogs that seem weak or tired are dropped and the good musher will be watchful of his/her dogs and make sound decisions based on what they see. they spend hours with their dogs and know them well. i enjoy the race and don't want to get into any battles over it. have had those battles on in the past and the people who are against dog mushing and the iditarod are ferocious in thier attacks and mostly unreasonable. i remember there was this young teenage musher out of talkeetna that was on dogster and every year those woman would just go after this young 13 year old. when the girl and her team were run over by a snowmachine in an accident and injured, these crazy women actual went on the site and said she deserved it because she ran dogs. it was annoying as i think it was just one or two people but since on dogster you speak as your dog and these people owned like 20 dogs it came off looking like there were hoards of people battling against this girl when it really was just one or two cowardly women. i realize that there are cases of abuse and neglect, but going after a 13 year old seems a bit nuts. many kids and families participate in mushing events in and around this state and it promotes self reliance and independence and confidence.thought the little kid above was cute. much easier solution that trying to drag a stroller through this snow. felt bad for the parents who were trying that. i always love the various dog transport kennels that are seen at these events. can't see the bib on this girl, but i think it may be the musher from norway. she went to uaf and started mushing back in school. she's back for this.
you may have noticed there are people in the sleds. i haven't ever really looked into the who iditarider thing so i will wing it a bit from what i've come to understand. people can bid for a spot. i believe that the more popular a musher is the more money that will cost to ride with them. it can cost maybe $2000-5000? it's a spendy thing, but does looke like alot of fun. you get to meet your favorite musher, spend time and probably get some cool trinkets. if you are interested you'd have to hit the iditarod official site. i'm probably due to pay my annual fee. if you pay extra you get the insider stuff, video's and stuff. otherwise you can just go there get the basics and follow the race. anchorage daily news site is also always a good place for race information....or you can come here and get my take on it all. my friend, sandra, takes her chances with the local bear population.i will plead ignorant as to what the dogs are supposed to do with haw and gee. they are as common with mushing dogs and sit and stay are with your family dog. i think it's a left/right thing. i'm sure i will get help with that. i do love all the cool personalized plates. more cool dog kennelsas you can see it was snowing pretty much all day. not sure how many inches that brought. we are getting closer and closer to the record for snowfall. at this point one almost wishes for it to happen. i spent some time when i got back home outside moving snow around. there arne't too many places to put it. my mastiff is getting lazier and lazier and keeps peeing on the deck so i did some work on cleaning the yellow snow off the deck and relocating it to my yard. then i worked on the front. really i'm buried in so deep i have mostly given up. will have to wait for spring. you have to step up onto the deck and there are no longer any steps down, they are covered and packed. it's just a ramp now. i suspect this is why i feel sore right now. we did walk alot today. we parked at tenth and then walked down to 4th and then all over the place and then back up to 10th and then i took the dogs to the bog as they'd been shut in all day.feel bad leaving them but they do fine and the iditarod is no place for dogs..hehe...pun intended. there were a few people who brought their dogs down there, but it's really not a good idea. mostly, it got the iditarod dogs worked up and barking. they have a long ways to travel too so the medical side of me thinks it would be wise to limit thier exposure to local dogs for fear of them getting some bug and getting ill out there. empty sleds.i think these kids were hanging at the steers truck. they own/run sheep mountain lodge. her husband has usually been the one running the iditarod, but this year the wife is going for it. hopefully she has a good the little muscle shirts they put on the dogs sometimes. pretty warm out there today.lots of mushers work together. kristy berington has trained with gebhardts dogs these past years. now her twin sister will also make a run. not sure that a pair of twins has ever run the iditarod, but she was called malibu musher and i think she pushed through because it was felt that a pretty girl was no match for the iditarod. so will have to watch the twins and see how it goes for them. i do love that this is a race that puts men/women/old and young against each other. it's how you manage your dogs and your time that counts. not many sports where all are equal really. aliy zirkle is always a favorite. her husband runs as well. not sure if he's running this year. some couples take turns running the teams. he was the one that hugh neff beat out by 26 seconds this year at the quest. we had fun watching the before race action. we chilled by jeff king for a bit. gotta love him. he's been doing this for years. sat out last year, was retiring i think. he's back. always inovative and i remember when i volunteered with the dropped dog crew, his dogs were all super sweet. they wore cute muscle shirts and i was told her rotates them inside all the time for bonding. he is always making alterations to his sleds. this is lance mackey, he has several wins under his belt. he was zipping around saying hi to his fellow musher buddies. fun to watch him. got some fun pictures of him with one of his dogs that i'll try and post tomorrow.these are hugh neffs cat in the hat dressed canines. is that cute or what. i don't remember him having the dogs in these coats before...nice touch!! perhaps he used his quest wins to dress up the team!!not sure why this chick is dressed up or why she is inside the fenceline! and jeff king and his dogs and handlers. check out all the activity downtown!kings dog kennel boxes. more boxesmushers will often use the ceremonial start to promote thier causes/sponsers. i always love the fashion collect booties that fall off when the pups are running.not too many purple kennels out there. lots of colour on these guys.another fun plate. we shall see how early we can get there and if there is parking in willow. always an adventure with all this snow we've had this year. some friends are meeting out at long lake. a few will come here in the morning to ride share. i'll have to check with karen, i think she may want to jump on that one.cute dogs. hopefully i get loads of cute dog pictures. we'll see what the weather brings for us.this musher below was ex air force. retired here and started mushing. before he ran the iditarod he volunteered for it.baker is here getting interviewed. he won last year. musher sebastian schnuelle wrote a little article in the adn today. just noticed it. interesting. he was saying how at first when he ran the iditarod he saw the ceremonial start as a bit of a bother or "necessary evil" as he called it. he later came to see that it was a way to celebrate mushing and to bring family in. he said mushers are gone alot and thier families sacrifice for the sport, but this day brings all together and it's just fun for all. he wrote a very nice article. he's not running the race this year, but will cover it for adn. very cool! i hadn't noticed that yet. i am winding down and getting ready for another day of fun. was thinking of making cookies, but have slacked off on all baking of late. perhaps tomorrow i'll get something made for the monday walk. the mushing mortician. have seen his truck around town alot. he's from anchorage. kinda a catchy name, right?if you like mushing and following the iditarod i'll try and take some fun photo's and find cool facts. off to bed...long day tomorrow.

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