Monday, March 5, 2012

combo of the weekend of iditarod activities.

with the various camera's the places they end up on the computer get a bit jumbled so it should get more organized after this one. not sure if this finishes up day one, the ceremonial start, but i think it pretty much will. the memory cards sometimes overlap on photo number so then i have to open a new stuff. not to mention i was up until the wee hours going over pictures and loading them in. finally had to crash. couldn't look at another dog picture as i was getting cross eyed. i do not shoot in raw. it takes long enough to just crop and occasionally add a smidge of brightness or contrast. so that is all i do with these pictures you see here. otherwise they are just me, snapping away. i'm not a professional photography. i just love to take pictures and have fun sharing them with whoever wants to enjoy them.
couldn't decide which of the first two pictures i should lead with today. above is a dog in the kennel from the anchorage ceremonial start. below is a shot i took through the window as my friend sandra drove me home. the sunset was amazing and at this bridge i got incredibly lucky with this shot. i think it's beautiful. i love the steam off the river. for a snapshot....i was quite happy! went with dog as it's iditarod time and seemed like i should always lead with something more iditarod related. it was a long day yesterday for my dogs. did manage to get up and get them for a nice little stretch before i left with friends for willow to watch the restart, but we left at 11am and got back at 7pm. that is a long day for dogs used to being with me almost all the time. it was nice to sleep in today and chill with the dogs. i may still leave and hit the pool for a few laps. these are before the run through anchorage. i enjoyed the pre-ride activities. everyone is pretty mellow and interactive. the stress of the run comes more the next day and this day is more of an 11-12 mile trail party. as it turns out i wasn't able to get down to the first lake where the main activities are taking place yesterday. we are headed for record snowfall this year and the already small streets of willow were pretty packed with snow. they closed the route between the lakes early and for fear of not being allowed back to the second lake we just opted to skip it. i think i would have been more dissapointed if i hadn't been able to do the ceremonial start and get these pictures.dee dee is always popular with loads of fans and has made this run 27 times. that is really just an amazing thing to me. not sure i'd want to go back year after year, i suspect once would be enough for me. like alaska itself though, i think it's just something that gets in your blood and it's hard to stay away. while we had snow on saturday and we also had some snow today, yesterday the skies turned blue and the weather was absolutely perfect out there on the lake. we had a lovely monday walk. gail, lena, tanya and i all met out there. we took a different back loop as gail was on lunch break. wanted to get her back. we took another side loop and were about to take another cut off when rio's ears perked up and she started pulling towards the one trail. the malemutes took off down the trail but soon ran into the objects of rio's sniffing activity. as soon as lena saw rio's response though she was already calling the dogs back. we all know the signs. rio is our blind moose tracker. i could see the mother and baby moose start to charge up the trail towards the dogs. rio was pulling hard to check out the moose she was sniffing, but we all made it back to the tank trail safely. the moose are a bit cranky this year, so best to give them a wide girth.
the mushers out on the trails will have to be vigilant as well. i think one dog got kicked on a training run here in anchorage. in the park where i was at today. hugh neff gets interviewed. he is currently in the front. last i checked most were either in rainy pass or headed that way. sounds like the trail conditions so far are great. yesterday it was decided to put the steps (or switchbacks) back into the race. it's part of the original run and a big challenge. i think the rookies were upset to not have this challenge. they were talking to deedee at a check point and she was saying with all this snow that portion may not give them the challenge they were hoping for. we saw alot of jeff king out there in anchorage. we spent quite a bit of time chilling near his team. great to see him out there again on the trails after taking a year off. he's done 21 iditarods and won 4. last win was in 2006. you can never count him out though. baker won last year. i was happy for him and for the native community that he won. of course, i have my favorites that i am hopeful for this year. the other fun one to watch is lance mackey. he hasn't had an easy life and his kennel is called the comeback kennel i think. he survived throat cancer and has continued issues related to that. he seems to love his dogs and he is an enthusiastic musher. he was running around saturday saying hey to the other big mushers so that was a kick to watch. i loved these of him with one of his dogs, getting hugs.he's raced in 10 iditarods, won 4 and on two of those years he won the iditarod he also won the yukon quest, which had never been done. he's a trickster on the trail and has often been sly and outsmarted the likes of jeff king with his antics. not sure if this girl is related or just another handler, but she was all smiles out there so i took a picture. more dog favorite of the lance mackey shots.lance comes over to greet last years winner, baker. the paper had an article by michelle boots about what the mushers carry in the sleds. they have required items, but like all of us, there are always those other items that we all pack and take with us. lots of ipods i think and books on cd's or ipods i think to listen to on the way. bells to ward off evil goblins and even ashes of beloved pets or in the case of the mushing mortician, who has one of his own dogs ashes along with those of a person and thier dogs ashes. some people make requests to be scattered with the ashes of beloved pets. i hadn't heard of this til a few years back. i can see that though. i have my previous pets ashes here and it seems like that would be a good thing to be scattered someplace with all the pets that have shared my life. there is even a flat stanley or in this case a flat silver....a dog who can't run this year because of a shoulder injury. i'm sure my sled would be crammed with camera stuff and extra batteries. the trail could be pretty rough on camera gear i'd guess. got a note from our boat taxi for round island. can't wait to see how much that bill will be. we will get an extra day on our permit to accomadate his schedule so i guess that is cool. i will have to arrange the planes though. on my list. summer is fast approaching. as soon as i know those details i'll send out an email with the updates on the trip.yesterday i was all about the dogs. so there will be loads of dog pictures over the next week or so. if you don't like dogs it's a good time to tune out or clear out that garage. my friend was checking out these fancy iditarod coats. of course, i joke with her that her huge bulky jacket is a total george costanza coat. the puffy coat episode. she bought it second hand. i think it's time may be coming to an end.tried to slip over to black and white a few times over the past few days. more yesterday than saturday. i really love the look of black and white. was pretty happy with some of the results of those shots.this is one of the twins. i think kristy. looks like a 1 and her bib is 31. her sister is 33. funny that they drew numbers so close. the redingtons drew the first and the last bib numbers and i think father and son seavey had numbers right by each other. grandpa seavey is close to the end, though he was wearing bib 100 for both starts, ceremonial and restart.dogs cruise through downtownthis is the young seavey, dallas. he's 22 this year and already on his 4th iditarod i think. paid for my iditainsider so i can watch video's and stuff at the iditarod site. they have good coverage and i only paid just over $30 so it's a fun site if you love the iditarod.we stopped at subway on the way out to willow, but tiffany and her boyfriend had brought out lots of moose and a bbq for cooking it. thier moose jerky is very good too.downtown from the parking structure.the volunteer handlers hold back the dogs. of course, when i think of it, the mushers handle thier dogs all along the route so they probably don't totally need these folks. i think it's part just to give those who want to volunteer an opportunity to be with the dogs and mushers. it may be too that it lets the mushers focus on all the other people and things that are going on. the dogs are probably more excited than usual due to all the people. make sure there are no mishaps with loose dogs out there.a nice place to watch the teams take off. i hadn't realized there were two all husky teams out there this year. it's usually mostly alaskan sled dogs, an alaskan breed not recognized by the akc, but bred specifically for long distance running.# 48 is out of ontario with his huskies.huskies and malemutes were used more for short, heavier loads in sleds i think. in the original run it was a series of teams/mushers that got the supply of vaccine serum to nome. it was a relay race then. now it's the same dogs/mushers that go from willow to nome.seems a good idea to use the iditarod to encourage vaccines of all sorts.this kid is a rapper as well apparently and spent the last several years of his childhood with the mackeys. i'm sure those are mackeys dogs he's running.a random shot from the lake on restart in willow.above is arron burmeister headed off to nome. i like those rear view shots, i had to make sure there wasn't a big ol poop hanging off a pup. that would make for an unattractive shot. for some reason the rapper didn't get his second sled attached before the start? anyway, they caught up with him and tied it on and off they went through the streets of anchorage.getting hungry. i'm sure the dogs are as well. rio made it out today. don't think she was going to let me leave without her after me being gone all day yesterday. she's quite attached and anytime i leave her she gets a bit crazy for a few is the elder seavey off for his run. he ran in the first organized iditarod race back in '73. will be interesting to see what he has to say about the differences he notes from that first run. it wasn't nearly so organized and controlled back then and the race took more like over 2 weeks. it was kinda a party atmosphere all along the trail from what i can gather. anyway, hope they do a few interviews with him over these next days.pretty early in the race for dropped mushers and none have dropped since last i looked. a few dogs have already been left behind to fly on back to anchorage and wait for thier pick ups. dogs, dogs and dogs...ryan redington is the last bib of the day. his family goes back generations as mushers. his grandfather is co-founder of this race and another great grandfather used to deliver mail up in unakeleet by dog team. a few pictures from the lake we watched the restart from. we always wonder what the name of the lake is and i saw this sign in the middle of the lake which seems to denote the name as emswiler lake. so there you go. we had a pretty small gathering this year, which was great. the lake seemed less full than other years in general. there is always a big local snowmachine gathering further down the lake, but our end was pretty light with folks. maybe alot just decided to stay on the first lake or take shuttle services to that lake or maybe many just stayed away after hearing reports of very limited parking due to extra snow.gail, sandra, tiffany's friend(whose name i always forget) tiffany and her beau, arron. not sure why i'm blanking on how to spell aaron. wait that looks more right.mac, gail, sandra, gails friends greg? and sarah and karen below. she overslept, but still was able to get out there. she must have booked it from anchorage. fire on the lake...they used an old washer tub. never seen that before but it really did work well. go figure.hard to see, but we counter at least 12 moose out on the flats as we drove back yesterday.and of course, the amazing sunset. not a bad way to end a day!!another fun weekend of iditarod activities. hope you return and enjoy the pictures of the dogs and all. i have fun taking them and i think there are some fun shots in the mix.

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