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 sport...like 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 dogster.com 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.