Sunday, March 10, 2013

iditarod the coast...

 things are shaking up.  buser has fallen to like 9th position after that rough run in the rain and slush on the yukon river.  lots of talk of a driving rain followed  by wind and snow.  post holing into the snow and overflow causing everyone to be cold and wet.
 i think buser said, "how do you spell misery...Y-U-K-O-N!".  mackey had a horrible go of it as well  he lost most of one of his front teeth out there somehow and has frostbite. one toe is black according to him.  he changed socks over and over but his boots just acted like a sponge.  he chose the wrong boots for the run, he called it a rookie mistake.  at one point he attempted to dry some socks by letting them wave in the wind..they just froze solid. slogging through water in a driving rain sounds pretty miserable.
 busers dogs drank from some puddle and ended up getting diarrhea so he was unhappy with his mistake of allowing them to drink from an unknown water source.  one of mackey's dogs apparently looked pretty bad, but the vets were able to pull the dog through.
 another dog got lost on the trail.  it was a dog of willomitzer. he stayed over 24 hours in the check point searching and finally found the dog and is back on his way.  marshall's dog was lost between checkpoints so he showed up to the next checkpoint short a dog, that means you must scratch from the race.  the dog actually belongs to lanier.  laniers wife should have arrived to try and locate the dog, since it knows her it is hoped it will turn up for her.  may has been missing for a few days but has been spotted a few times near the check point so there is hope she will be picked up soon.
 above was a pediatric dentist from anchorage, christine roalofs?  she's pretty close to the end of the pack.  this guy is ramey smith.  he's in about 25th position at this time.
 39 is a 67 year old from wasilla.  it's always amazing the age range and variety of people who take on this challenge. will be interesting to see how those at the back of the pack will fare with the yukon considering how rough it was for those at the front who have tons of experience sledding.  of course, weather could change and it could be not so bad.
 the run from kaltag, just off the yukon, to unalakleet doesn't sound like it improved too much. lots of activity with passing teams.  wind was a big factor out there as well as snow and drifts
 just checked the gps for current ten.  mitch seavey, burmeister, king, zirkle, ulsom, redington, berkowitz, lindner, dallas seavey and buser.
 run times i've seen are anywhere from 4.5 mph to 9mph.  it will come down to speeds and time required to rest teams.  a few were showing mph at 0 so they are resting.  the top 8 teams are out of unalakleet and headed for shaktoolik.  it's looking like a pretty exciting race right now with so many teams running so close together.  it's been a slog for the past 24 hours.  some teams look better coming into the check points than others.
 i stopped by the local millenium hotel today to see if they had any dropped dogs coming in that they needed help with. i volunteered a few years back and will have to be better at getting myself on the list and trained as a "handler" next year.  they did have a big group come in through the night i guess, but don't expect more dropped dogs til tuesday.  i think they got backed up due to the weather out there. lots of planes and people stuck in mcgrath from what i heard.
 taggart...she's out of ketchikan!  i lived there for 6 years so it was home for awhile.  she's somewhere in the 50's as far as a place right now.
 no dogs to take care of so i drove around lake hood and checked out the planes.
 we got a lot of wet snow today.  i left rio at home as i felt trudging through that deep stuff was not going to be good on her joints.  blossom and i walked around rovers run.  lots of folks out there.  snow was sticking to ski's.  if you had the right wax you were okay, but otherwise, best just to walk.  i must say my leg feels better and better despite the fact that the procedure hasn't happened yet.
 came home and made a snowman on the back deck.  seemed to take almost as much time as shoveling it and it was way more fun.  can't remember ever making a real snowman before. 48 isn't too late to start making snowmen i suppose.
 even got to the pool today. the water was clear and warm.  felt great!!
 was just thinking poor mackey won $3000 gold for reaching the half way point first, now that gold will go to some dentist to fix that broken tooth he got on the yukon.  hope they got that on the video they are making of him.
 still have the cat litter to exciting life.  it's trash day.  below is kim.  chilling at the restart.

 a team of husky's.  they are no doubt having a rough year this year.  it's hot by dog sled standards.  this team is chlupach's team out of willow.  the other all akc husky team is ellis.  he'd said he has to stop every hour at least and let his huskies roll around in the snow to cool off.  for sure a husky team is a disadvantage this year.
 mostly the teams are made up of alaskan sled dogs, and these few husky teams. the rules say something about only using dogs suited for this sort of thing. a rule i suspect came in after a poodle team was entered and attempted to run the iditarod. i'm pretty sure they scratched. poodles aren't known for their sledding skills, though they do have many other talents.
 a little trivia from the iditarod website.  widows the old days of dog sleds which carried freight and mail across alaska to various road houses, a lamp would be lit at the roadhouse when a team was on the trail heading towards town.  this lamp would remain lit until the team arrived.  this was a safety thing.  it helped to guide the team in and also served to let everyone know a team was out there in the event they didn't show up at the roadhouse.
 this tradition continues today with the widows lamp being lit in nome and not being turned out until the last racer arrives and crosses under the burled arch.
 the arch was put up in town today it looked like, ready for whoever arrives first in nome.
 aaron has clearly made another smart arse comment and gotten a response from this musher.  it's all in good fun...
 the red lantern of the iditarod is different from the widows lamp.  it's awarded to the last musher who arrives in nome.  so far that chick from california is in position for that.  if she falls too far behind though she will be scratched and it will go to another.  they aren't going to hold checkpoints open for stragglers who aren't keeping pace with the pack.
 this guy here is jake berkowitz.  as i mentioned he is up there in the top ten currently. his team is said to be looking strong.  he had a good team last year but was withdrawn by the officials after he sliced his hand open.  the officials can withdraw you if they believe you will be hindered from dog care duties by an injury.
 aside from mackey's tooth and frostbitten toe, i haven't heard of any other human injuries so far this year.

 this guy is perano from new zealand.  he's in 30th place or so at present.  all could change before i finish writing as it was last night.

 teams are purging unneeded gear at the checkpoints in order to lighten their load.  they must come into nome with at least 7? dogs in halter?  can't remember now. 6 dogs...just looked it up.  they can have a total of 3 sleds so some will opt for a total light weight sled change for that last run to the coast as dallas seavey has done.
 i'm sure these dogs are more tired by now. that is a lot of dogs shipped home during the race...if you consider teams start with 16 dogs and generally cross under the arch with 7-12 dogs.

 this guy is the pet shop owner from brasil.
 was just looking over the rules of the race.  most of it deals with the dogs.  care/handling/transport and even death.  it does happen.  i always say a few prayers for the dogs out there.
 there is even a section of the rules about what to do if game is killed in defense of life or property. i know at least one musher had a moose stomp through their team.  the rules state that if you have to kill game you have to stop and gut the thing.  those behind you are expected to stop and render aide in this process. not sure what is done with the meat?
 there is no penalty for helping in an emergency and you are expected to do so.  many rules i'm sure have been adapted due to circumstances that have arisen. i suspect the game rule came about after an incidence.
 this is just a cute dog!
 they look so energetic.  funny to watch some of the teams videos coming into these later checkpoints and some of them still look this excited.
 and the back view...always a favorite of mine.  i think it just demonstrates the power of the team.

 above is allen moore, he just won the yukon quest and is married to aliy zirkle.  she took the best dogs for her run here.  he took the best dogs for his quest run.
 sousa from talkeetna.  great little town between here and denali national park
 more dogs running. love when i get a good spit!
 those are some big snowshoes....they are required on all sleds.  many of the required items have probably come about from past experiences too.  like they have to carry this ax.  this was a life saving tool in at least one iditarod from what i recall reading.
 here is the other husky team.  must be ellis..yep.
 they just are some of the most beautiful dogs in harness.
 just a sight to behold watching a team of huskies coming down the trail.
 probably not the best long distance runners and like i said, way too hot in this years race...i'd never own one.  i find they are a pick up/drop off service on trails.  huskies, malemutes...they are more prone to take off  on adventures. i rather like my dogs to want to stay with me more.
 but they are pretty..

 off he goes to nome.  hoping these guys are doing good on the trail.
we shall see what tomorrow brings. it will probably be decided by late monday night or early tuesday.  just a guess.  feel free to write a comment and let me know you are out there.  my readership is up, but my comments are down.  mostly spam...and that is no fun!!


  1. Thanks for all the great pics, and updates on this amazing race!Mary in ma

  2. thanks for stopping's more fun that way!! they are nearing the end. off to post more pictures and updates!