with over 20 years in this amazing place. it's never dull. i hope to enjoy years of exploration here.
Friday, March 13, 2015
half way to Nome already for the leaders
these are still from the ceremonial start in Anchorage. i am back at work so still loads of pictures to look through. light got better during the restart and i got a few that i liked. always fun just taking photo's. there are loads of camera's out at these events. tech is the way it is.
thought this came out nice of this musher. Brent Sass is out due to tech though. so some discussions bantered about regarding tech and it's role in the Iditarod. Sass just won the Yukon Quest. part of me thinks if a rookie with no hope of winning were to have been found to have an ipod with wifi compatibility it may not have resulted in disqualification...if he had gone on to win though with that in his arsenal there would have been some questions.
felt bad for the guy as it seems like it was probably an honest mistake. many items that we have are now wifi compatible and we just don't realize it as we don't utilize it. someone must have pointed it out to the Iditarod folks though. competition is competition. i actually haven 't heard if they have continued the panic button that they started last year. hasn't been the need i guess for that.
i wrote last year about how i think the gps and the panic button have forever altered the race. it changes who can run this sort of race knowing that help can be a button push away...or the thought that it can be a button push away. many found out last year, that is not necessarily the case. help in remote Alaska is never as easy as a button push. still, that gives the humans a sense of security that didn't exist previously. i enjoy the gps as a spectator but do realize that these technological advances opens the race up to people who probably shouldn't be attempting it.
2 other scratches so a total of 3 are out.
Zoya is out, the final musher at the start. one video clip before she scratched was pretty funny. her lead dog apparently captured some sort of vermin on the fly. may have made the dog run a bit faster. have not heard why the two that scratched did so. the other was a rookie. usually, when they do give a reason it's the standard, "out of consideration for the dogs on the team" sort of answer.
these dogs are so excited just for the start of their journey through town .
trail sounds like it's been good overall. i think the teams are enjoying a change of scenery. it is probably nice to have the start in a new place. adds a new challenge for those who have run this over and over again. temps have been cold out there. -30 to -50 at times. nice aurora viewings..of course that happened the night after i returned to Anchorage. dang aurora. haha.
the "comeback kid" Lance Mackey is not having an easy time of it. they showed a clip of him tearfully speaking of how his body is not cooperating this year and the potential that this may have to be his last attempt at running this long distance race. he's battled cancer and has residual effects of his cancer and treatment. one is bad reynauds. his fingers (the ones he has left) are swollen, dusky and his dexterity is poor. his brother has been running back with him to help him with his team and dog care duties. one of those things that i suspect could get one kicked out of the race if they were at all in a position of being competitive.
last night the news came in that Lance had lost a dog. a necropsy will be done to determine the sudden death to this dog. one has to wonder if his physical ailments have ultimately been a factor in this death. he seems to be moving forward but i wouldn't be surprised if he ends up dropping out or being encouraged by Iditarod leadershop to drop out. generally when dogs die suddenly it's an aspiration pneumonia or a bleeding gastric ulcer.
the animal rights groups jump all over each death that happens and they do occasionally occur. it's a part of the race that nobody likes and Iditarod does everything it can to prevent. the dog death numbers have decreased over the years but they still do occur. over 1200 dogs running nearly 1000 miles...it's bound to happen. groups like PETA feel the race is forced upon the dogs. these dogs are bred to run and though i can't justify dog deaths, i do understand that it can be a part of the race...a part that always makes me cringe.
for my part, i wish there was some way to assure that the leaders of the teams, the mushers, are never allowed to sleep while the team is in motion. i have no idea how one would monitor this though and i know they do it. i just feel if you are too tired to lead the team safely then you should pull over and rest. there are hazards out there and you, as the musher, must be aware and awake.
the teams are at the halfway point or beyond. who is in lead gets a bit sketchy at this point. teams must do mandatory 8 hour and 24 hour breaks. some are going on their 24 hour breaks while others are coming off of it.
i guess the 24 hour break is also when the staggered start gets worked out in the timing.
so Burmeister was the first to reach Huslia. the town is actually steeped in Iditarod history and was super excited to have the Iditarod come their way. Aaron arrived after midnight to pretty much the entire town there to greet him. he said it felt like he had won! He is from Nome, grew up there and i'm sure they would love him to win this race!
lots of miles ahead and changes will be happening now in the leader board.
when i was headed over to meet friends for dinner that first night in Fairbanks i ran across a bit of a happening on Wade road in Fairbanks. there were several police cars and the police officers were very focused on this woman, who they did not seem to have control over. they were totally focused on her and i was a bit confused as to what i should do. staying there seemed a bad idea yet it felt strange to just drive past....heard later there had been an officer involved shooting in that spot or at a house nearby. still not sure what happened, but i'm happy i moved on and got out of the line of fire.
Hugh seems to be having a better year thus far. it's cold in the interior, but he lives in the interior...he mentioned that the coast will have a cold with wind chill, a much worse battle. true that...the wind chill is what you really have to watch out for. it can be brutal.
things not looking great for funding on Round Island. i'll look over my commentary piece Sunday and then send it of to the editor...gotta do what i can. haven't been able to collect donations to cover the costs. i still have a lot to learn about major fundraising, but times are tough anyway and gathering funds for even the larger, more established non-profits isn't an easy task. i try to just keep everything in perspective. better to have tried and failed than to not try at all...this and, i can't make the situation worse are phrases i say often to myself.
an excited pup at the start line
just reading over this weeks news. the Malyasia jet that disappeared apparently had an expired beacon battery...that is nice...so one of two beacons was not operational at the time it was lost. all that hunting for "pings" is wasted if there is no ping. a toddler that was upside down in a car seat in a river survived over 14 hours in this position...it's head held just above the water. sadly the mother perished in the same water.
an American astronaut and 2 Russian Cosmonauts returned from space trip. when i was a kid this would have been headline news, now they return with barely a blip in the news. strange.
another article was talking about American soldiers who have left active duty but have opted to return to fight ISIS as private soldiers. seems a huge risk to them as if they get caught by ISIS they will no doubt suffer at the hands of these crazy people. once a soldier always a soldier. gotta applaud them for their bravery and determination. seems like a bit of a suicide mission.
thought this turned out really nice of Dee Dee.
some of the regulars return year after year to the race...there are always a group of rookies as well. the youngest is 18 out there.
these are all regulars...Dee Dee, Seavey and Mackey below.
back to work last night. i wasn't sure if i was working because it looked odd on the schedule. i ended up in PICU as a sitter. rough gig..the roughest part was staying awake. did some step aerobics and stretches. at 0645 i ended up getting a patient. since it's shift change that is just enough time to get them settled in their bed and give report. two more nights to go. doesn't sound like the house was very busy last night. we shall see what tonight brings. you never know in a hospital.
one of our Senators. she hasn't been helpful with the Round Island funding.
Aily, another popular musher.
called my PT place when i woke up today. i had gotten the bill, which seems to be more than i had to pay for my actual surgery. i decided it was time...so i canceled my next appointment and didn't reschedule. my knee is improving and i feel like i have what i need to continue to improve. rather pay for my gym membership and hit the pool and machines there rather than drive across town for the PT. i will be hitting my out of pocket again....i'd rather not need any medical assistance and hopefully, the rest of the year i am healthy and improving. looking forward to some hikes and swims this summer and getting to be a more fit me.
a friend out at the restart working as a handler. she volunteers along with her husband have done so for several years now.
sad story today about massive strandings off California coast of baby sea lions. they haven't done great in some areas already but they are having pups come ashore thin and dying of starvation. they suspect it is related to warm waters. over 1400 have washed ashore this year alone. so sad....
the latest Iditarod couple i guess. Charley and Anna B.
would no doubt be tough to meet people outside of this sport who would be totally understanding of the time, money and dedication you have for the sport and your dogs. not everyone wants to live with 50-60 dogs and all that this entails. just caring for my two dogs can be a challenge....i can't imagine having a whole kennel of dogs to deal with.
Lev Schvarts...kind of an unfortunate name. there is another guy Berass that is a funny name. i think he is running Hendricksons team. she was signed up to run but was out on a training run along the parks highway in the fall when a car or truck hit ice and ran over she and her team. the dogs all survived with only minor injuries but she had broken vertebrae, which has been slow to recover from.
more bad news for the ocean world...off the northwest coasts a massive starfish die off. this was first noted in 2013 and the poor little sea starts get lesions, lose their legs and then turn to mush. again...climate changes are suspected to be to blame...but then...there is no climate change. haha.
a strange thing happened this week. flights out of Kodiak and surrounding area were impacted by volcanic ash from an eruption back in 1912. winds blew up the ash and particles...
apparently a kitty cat escaped it's home and ended up frozen to the sidewalk. it was found and rescued and has now been returned home. just more strange happenings of winter.
Lisbet above...one of the many female teams in this race. have always loved that this race is a great equalizer. old, young, male, female...anyone can win this race.
it's been awhile since a female has won...more and more are joining in. at the restart apparently one of the first female competitors was on hand. she still does dog team tours out of Fairbanks. it was a pretty fun day for her out there i think.
hoping for safe travels for the dogs and mushers to Nome. with one loss those prayers continues for the rest.
guess i better get moving. shower, walk dogs and then try for another short nap before i return to work. never enough sleep between shifts it seems.
thankful for: A. cold weather and a safer trail overall. B. being home with my furs C. the heated throw...it's the little things in life sometimes.
have lived in alaska since 1995, lived in ketchikan for 6 years and here in anchorage since 2001. it's a wonderful place and i enjoy getting out nearly daily for a walk/hike/stroll or ramble. enjoy the pics