Wednesday, March 12, 2014

iditarod 2014

 top ten are in to Nome, minus this guy.  and 18 others who have scratched on this race.  that is a large number and it must have  been so painful to scratch so close to Nome. that incident with the wind must have really undone his poor pups.  he did the right thing, but i suspect it was a tough decision.  that wind can kill you out there though and for his safety and the safety of the team he did what he had to do.
 there haven't been any interviews yet with King that i've seen.  i saw one from White Mountain before he left.  he basically was saying it's not over until it's over.  he knows how things can change.  that was a crazy one last night.  i was awake all night. couldn't stop watching the thing.  i was in bed with my laptop by my side and my little video player watching James Herriot series.
 did see an interview with Aily.  she looked totally wiped out.  hadn't slept yet obviously.  she has a large fan base and is very well liked by all.  when asked about being 2nd for a third year, she just said something like it's better than a scratch.  i'm sure she came close to scratching as well.  she could barely see the lead dogs with all the wind and blowing snow and had lost the trail.  she was lucky she made it to Safety.
 she called it life and death mushing.  in that wind it is.  she knew she had to get to Safety no matter what.  i don't think she gave it up to Dallas, but she was exhausted, her team was tired and she knew the weather was looking worse and not better.  she lay down and that Dallas just came through.  he was only there for 3 minutes.  he knew his dad was behind him and i think he had good momentum going with his team.
 the trail was extreme, even by Alaska standards this year.  Golivin Bay was giving teams fits as well.  it was shear ice and the wind was blowing something fierce.  it's been mentioned a few times by teams coming through.
 Martin Buser came in, top 10 as well.  he was exhausted and seemed so very happy to be able to put this trail behind him.  with his aches i think he felt he wasn't giving his dogs all they deserve.
 saw the national release on the internet and then just had to read comments.  always a foolish thing to do.  i'm always amazed at how people who are basically annonymous can make these idiotic statements.  it's like their only power is this, expert on the internet. haha.
 do these mushers love their dogs?  i'd say the bulk of them do.  if not in the usual pet dog love way, in the respectful partner way.  they depend on their dogs and their dogs depend on them.  they see their dogs as athletes and they want to get them in the best condition they can.  i think most of them see that as both physical and emotional.  you aren't going to get these dogs to run to Nome by treating them poorly.
 i'm not going to say though that every dog kennel in every state is perfect and that every dog musher is some sort of hero or saint.  they are humans and there are some humans that are better than others.  this race has come a long ways in continuing to monitor and check the dogs.
 there are occasional dog deaths on the trail or in the time before/after.  69 teams X 16 dogs per team = over 1000 dogs.  there are bound to be some issues that are missed or not known about.  i wince anytime there is a death.  i am realistic enough to understand that there will always  be a dog death from time to time.  does that mean the race should not be run.  i don't think so.
 it's an endurance race and i think it's amazing to see what both human and dog are capable of.  the dogs love to run.  i have seen that over and over and like with Jeff Kings dogs, when they are done running, they are done.  in the end the dogs are in control.  i think it's good to push the envelope and test the limits.  that is what the Olympics is as well. it inspires, gives hope.
 some would say, then the humans should run to Nome and leave the dogs out of it.  dogs are mans best friend, the relationship we share with dogs is the closest we have with any other mammal.  this race is a testament to the human/canine bond.  human and beast totally dependent on one another.
 are there sled dogs in shelters. yes and i suspect at the end of a sledding season the numbers of dogs in shelters increases.  there are jerks out there who see dogs as simply property to  be ditched when it's convenient.  that isn't just sled dogs.  sadly we have overfilled shelters across the country.  too many people do not take responsibility.  i've worked in Vet medicine.  i've seen the horrible things that people are capable of inflicting on the dogs and cats in their care. so i've no doubt there are abuses with sled dogs just as there are abuses with all dogs.  i don't think it's worse with these dogs or those dogs.  there are just some ignorant and irresponsible people that we share our earth with.
 those same horrible dog owners are also terrible parents...i've seen that proof over and over.  it's still no reason to stop a dog race to Nome.  i suspect the high profile dogs of the Iditarod do more to benefit good dog care than to harm.  the rules are set up to prevent abuses and there are penalties for poor care of dogs.  there is also, i suspect,  a great deal of condemnation that would come from fellow mushers at this level if there were word of poor treatment.
 someone commented that the dogs had ice on their muzzle and that was horrible and cruel.
 clearly that person has never lived in a cold weather climate and done anything physical outdoors.  i get ice build up from taking a walk outside. it's not painful or harmful or in any way a sign of neglect or abuse.
 slept in today and then headed to pick up Tanya and her daughter for a mini adventure.  we headed towards Portage. not to hit the lake as i did the other day, but i thought we could maybe do a little walk out that way and then go to the wildlife center as they had never  been.
 well, the weather was blowing and rainy. it was a mess out there.  we did a super short walk as it was quite wet and we were dressed more for cold than for wet.
 blossom was happy to just be out there chasing her toy.
 we hit the conservation center, they weren't charging today as they had closed off the back portion to move wood  bison around and give them some cares i guess.
 still fun to see the animals we say, even though it continued to rain on us.
 always love these black and whites of the dogs.
 fun to switch it up a bit.
 then we gave it up and headed to Girdwood for a meal.  the first place we tried, the lot was a sheet of ice.  slip, slide.  so we ended up at chair 5 for pizza.
 after pizza we stopped by the national park place there so Tanya could get a new bumper sticker for Chugach.  while we were in there, miss Blossom ate all the leftover pizza.  i was surprised.  Rio does stuff like that, Blossom generally resists such things.  so far i've seen no ill effects, but i did feed her later and less than usual.
 my friends lay down on the snow and played dead when the Mushing Mortician came by, then they all yelled, "we're dying for you to get to Nome".  i think he found it humorous, though he didn't make it to Nome this year.  he was one of the 19 scratches so far.  it ain't over yet and there are still all the rookies out there.
 there may be another team or two to put on the brakes.  Hugh Neff is out as well.  haven't really heard what happened there.

 i try to avoid reading comments, especially this time of year.  there are many who are extremely against dog mushing.
 i would add a rule of no sleeping on the sled as i think you, as the human, should be awake and able to guide and protect the dogs.  don't like the idea of a dog hurting itself and the musher not noticing because they had fallen asleep.  so there is always room for improvement.  not sure how one would go about making sure nobody fell asleep on this long and remote of a trail.  they have added the gps and the panic button.
 it's a race that is always evolving to improve.  it's not as wild as it was in the original days, but it's also more safe for the dogs and i'm okay with that.
 the crew yells as Janseen goes past.
had to take a nap a bit after i got home.  was still sleepy from my long night last night.  tonight i settled into the tub for a soak...felt great!!
 still no signs really of that plane that went down. always amazing that a big plane like that could just disappear.  very sad as well.  they have so many souls on board.
 the paper went to print last night with no winner and with Aily just getting to Safety.  no way to wait, so tomorrows paper should have the finals and hopefully more tales from the trail.
 thought i heard it might snow today, but rain was more in order. it felt so warm when i got outside earlier.  drip, drip, drip.  boo, hoo!!
 such a strange warm year this was.  not nearly as much snow as well all love.  we could see Portage Lake through the rain.  there is no way i would have attempted a walk out there. it was pretty, that glacier blue on the surface.

 my bed is calling me.  thankfully, i won't be awake until almost 5 am like last night.
 Iditarod finishes are really never that much excitement so that was totally fun.  i was texting updates to a friend at work so i know it was one many minds there last night as well.
 really liked this photo above.  came out nicely!!
 so to the end of another note.  hopefully you are not too bored.
still loads of dog photo's. i will continue to post them as teams continue to come into nome.  then i will probably mix them with more recent photos until the dogs of march have faded off....hoping for continued safety for all those still out on the trails.

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