Sunday, March 6, 2016

start of another Iditarod!

 these are from the ceremonial start yesterday.  time is pretty packed this week for me.  sorry.  I should be packing for my little jaunt up to Fairbanks tomorrow morning.  above is Aily Zirkle.  she has come so close to win the Iditarod only to be beat out by a Seavey it seems.  always wishing her good luck on her journey north.
 weather has been great past 2 days.  lots of dogs and tons of photos.  just getting starting looking through the photo's from today. will probably have to continue that when I return.  roads looked clear so hopefully that holds to Fairbanks.  will just take my time. 
 I always enjoy watching them pack their sleds.  at the ceremonial start the sleds are packed with people mostly.  iditariders bid to ride through Anchorage in sled.  they always look super happy. sadly, this year, the ride was only 3 miles long.  everyone seemed to be taking this disappointment in stride though.  that is the can never know what to expect completely. 
 being only 3 miles though meant that downtown was packed.
 I have been up early the past 2 days and tomorrow will be the same.  poor Blossom today was stuck at home.  she was yesterday as well  but for shorter.  I drove home and picked her up for a walk.  it was total ice covered with just enough snow again to make you feel you may be safe but slippery.  I had cleats on but there was just enough snow to pack your cleats and render them totally useless.  so had to do a shorter walk than I'd hoped.  Blossom was sliding all over as well so better to protect her already sore and aging joints.
 after that I hit the pool for a mile swim.  I know with travel this week will be a bust.  got back too late today to attempt it, plus no way I was going to turn around and leave Blossom again today. 
 I still need to pack for my trek, which of course got me thinking about packing these sleds.  I tend to be an overpacker and you can see some sleds hold more stuff than others.  us humans are all different in how we pack.  living in Alaska there is always some adventure and each adventure requires a whole different packing plan.  different gear, different way of packing that gear. 
 it's always fascinating to me how they decide what to put in these sleds.  they have to plan for 9-15 days generally out there.  they also have to plan for various drop bags that they will pick up at the check points.  must also plan for various emergencies.  they have an emergency button but only a fool would believe that in remote Alaska that will mean help is coming rapidly.  depending on weather and trail conditions help could be hours and hours away. 
 I have to plan my trip to Fairbanks, but since it's winter I will need to make sure I have some survival type stuff in the car in case I breakdown or go in a ditch and am stuck there for a bit.  hopefully nothing bad happens, but it's always good to have a good down sleeping bag and liner in case you have to sleep in the car.  hell, in this area a big accident ahead of you could be all it takes to force you to sleep in your car in sub zero temps.  that can close the entire road.  there are no feeder roads.
 I'm sore tonight.  is it from sitting on the ground all day taking pictures, from the mile swim last night.  not sure.  these guys will no doubt be feeling sore soon.  don't worry about the cold though.  they prefer running in the cold so many teams will run at night.  they overheat during the days and our warm temps of 20-40 degrees. 
 nice group out at Long Lake in Willow as usual.  it's become tradition.  they did change up the route down to our lake a bit...which was actually a good move I think.  was laughing as I tried to tell someone that they may be shifting where the teams come down on the lake and he may need to shift as well.  he clearly didn't want to hear that and felt I was totally wrong.  I hadn't meant to cause him to want to argue.  I just walked on.  when I returned he was still stubbornly staying in the same location, despite the fact that the trail guards were switched to the new route down on the lake. we just quietly walked past the guy and he did eventually move somewhere. 
 below is a sled decked out for a cushy ride through Anchorage.  above is the mushing Mortician.  he seems to keep returning despite seeming to always have a rough run of it. 
 little nose sticking out from the kennel.
 of course, I was thinking if I had a dog team and a dog truck with kennels, I'd need to have them do a cut out of a walrus and deck the truck out with support for walrus. 
 not contemplating a run to Nome though.  it sounds cool and great and the idea of being out on the trail with a team of all sounds lovely...but all those dogs need to be constantly cared for.  booties must be put on and taken off.  temperatures can drop to -40F.  trails are not always smooth and straight.  I'm far too wimpy...give me a pit crew and then I'd be all over it!! 
 downtown is your opportunity to get up close and personal with all the dogs...often with the mushers as well.  it's quite social. 
 I love all the brightly colored harnesses, sleds and booties. 

 I also love to check out all the designs of the kennels.  the mushers personality can shine through.
 there were far too many folks inside the fenced area with  badges!  they just stand around being totally useless and getting in the way of many photo ops. the sponsers must be given a crap load of badges.  it's kind of out of control the number of people inside the fences.  they really need to limit that better.  with the added folks downtown it was in some ways a bit frustrating.  saw a video of the 3 miles...there were some more pleasant places to have been...but then I would have missed out on the close ups with the dogs and the trucks and all. 
 today I watched teams it's kind of nice to make both days totally different experiences. 
 so many sweet puppy faces...!!
 moving is good. 
 loads of volunteers.  many are handlers and once your team has taken off you are again free to wander inside the fence line.  I figure at least they are helping out and have earned their inside the fence time. though some of them were standing around not helping much at all.  felt bad for the volunteers that were trying to keep people where they were supposed to be.  our society is often filled with folks who do not believe rules are there for while the poor lady in front of me at one point was kindly sending someone out of fenced area, 5 more were sneaking back in behind her. 
 it's a much more loose and festival feeling on Saturday at the ceremonial start whereas today, the mushers were more focused on getting packed and ready to roll. 
 not everyone would enjoy being alone out there.  for me it does sound lovely.  being with Blossom driving north will be relaxing.  stop when I want, wander where I want. 
 I have a large family but I do remember even as a child my loner tendencies coming through.  hard to find alone time in a family of 7 kids.  I think too, you grow up without tons of 1:1 attention so it's always strange to me when attention is directed my way.  I'm not always sure what to do with it. 
 loved those blue eyes on the dog above
 was listening to a segment on NPR as I drove home yesterday.  so many strange things happen in this world.  so this lady went to her Dr and was told she needed to get a kidney transplant...ASAP.  he had told her if any family was willing they should be DNA tested.  her two sons and her spouse were tested.
 oddly, her two sons turned out to have zero DNA from her but did have her husbands DNA.  everyone was sure this must be an error.  she assured the DR she was there for both of her kids birth and they came from her.  the boys were rechecked and again were found to contain zero DNA from the mother . people started questioning her honesty...were these really her kids?
 then the DR decided to do DNA tests on the mother from various parts of her body.  sure enough this woman had 2 complete sets of DNA.  her sons had gotten one of them but not the other.  she was a Chimera.  I had never heard of this.  apparently if two fertilized eggs fuse within the first few hours/days you can end up with 2 distinct sets of DNA in you.  the different DNA may control different parts of your body. 
 such a strange story..i just had to share it.  they used to think it was super rare but perhaps its not as rare as they once though.  we just aren't all DNA tested.  who knows what lurks in any of us. 
 fun to take photo's of the various handlers enjoying dog time.  it was rough out there with that slushy trail for those handlers when the dogs were moving.  hard work trying to control those high energy dogs in slush. 
 they are beautiful dogs, but I wouldn't be rushing out to get myself one.  runners...they require a lot of exercise. like Huskies they will book often as well.  I like my dogs to want to stay near me.
 not sure if I mentioned this strange dog story...
 a few nights back Blossom woke me in the middle of the night barking.  this doesn't happen often.  I went to investigate.  when this does happen Blossom tends to be looking out a window towards the outside...this time she looked spooked and was sitting by the door looking in the house.  my first though was that she was seeing the ghost of Rio Catalina...I even looked at her and said, "are you seeing Rio?".  didn't see anything outside, but just sat and pet her for a minute and headed back to bed.  I never saw Rio. I can't say I've ever seen anything spirit like or felt a presence of someone who had passed.  I don't put it past others though.  especially kids, animals.  they just seem like they would be more intuitive.  I'd be okay with Rio hanging out watching over us though.
 still miss that big pup.  funny on walks so often I still know all the obstacles that I would have to caution my blind dog about.  so in my head I'm thinking "careful" at those spots each time. 
 not sure what to do with all the coats I made her.  her bed is still at the foot of my bed.  these dogs get into your heart and soul.  they give so much and take so little. 
 look at this precious face.  hoping they all travel safe to Nome. 
 always love this dog truck.  I always forgets who the musher is though. love that the dogs can stick their heads out....makes for some cute photo's.  I'm sure hundreds of pics just like these were taken yesterday.  haha.
 this one always reminds me of the Brady Bunch and the opening of that show.  yes, I'm old and yes we watched that show all the time.
 guess I better get a few things packed. excited to see the ice sculptures.  they are much grander and more impressive in Fairbanks than the ones they do here.  should be cool. 
 will take my suit in case I decide to hit the hot springs as well.  may hit the gym.  we shall see.  would be fun to check out their Alaska Club.  some times I get tempted to pack it up and move further north.  more snow, more northern lights.  guess some of us always have that wanderlust.  we want to settle in, but part of us always wants to bolt too.
 probably will be a few before I blog again.  hopefully I can sneak one in depending on when I get back Wednesday night. 
thankful for:  A.  fun friends and fun opportunities to get out.  B.  dogs, they always amaze me with what they are capable of.  amazed by how many varieties of dogs have come from this species.  it's nuts really. C.  beautiful weather and clear roads. 

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