Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nic got lost....can he get back to first place

 more of the ceremonial start. Bradley Farquhar above and in several other shots...was hanging with his pit crew at the ceremonial start. we all enjoyed the parade of teams coming past.
 as i said yesterday, you never know what will be happening in this race.  everyone was giving the race to Nick Petit and then today, he got off the trail.  it can happen pretty easily.  you always hear of mushers getting off trail for a bit.  wind blowing can make those little wooden posts tough to see and you are beyond exhausted.  occasionally they fall asleep or drift off and when they do, the dogs may just decide that snow machine trail is the way to go...
 by the way, in Alaska, we call snowmobiles snow machines and we tend to stick to that pretty strictly.
 anyway, an hour or more later and 7-8 mile detour later, Joar is in the lead spot.  last i checked they were both out of Koyuk.  Joar left first and Nic left within 20 minutes i think.  there are not a lot of miles between them though and he can make that up.  they are in the area of lots of wind, off the ice again though, but hills and wind in their future.
 Seavey is not too far behind them but he would have to wait in Koyuk and watch them leave no doubt in order to rest his dog team. 
 lots of pictures with Brad and Jerry, his lead dog and the dog he will return to Nova Scotia with. great dog...
 I'm sure there are a zillion pictures just like these out there. people love pics of mushers with their dogs.  we all love dogs!!
 before the mix up there are some video's of Nic being interviewed.  he's in a cabin out in the middle of nowhere i think eating re-hydrated food with the bottom end of one of the Iditarod wooden stakes that designate the trail.  cracked me up.  the guy was all, "don't you have a spoon".  lost somewhere. 
 sounds like Nic has written little notes for musher friends behind him to read and enjoy. 
 there is Nic now.  going past us on his way to play in Anchorage
 they had an interview with Anna as well that i was watching.  she usually sticks pretty close to her twin sister, Kristy, but Kristy is hanging back with her husband who is doing the dog run for the first time...she was missing her sister but said she was leaving notes for her at the check points. 
 my adventures are a bit more tame than these teams. the dogs and i joined friends for a nice 4+ mile walk out in N.Biv. we lost two tennis balls today. LH suggested next winter we put numbers on them and see if we find any in the spring...would also give us an idea of how many tennis balls go missing in one winter. 
 either way the pups had a great day out there.  we hadn't done this bigger loop for some time...well we kind of did the one day we sort of got disoriented out there.  still not sure where those trails all were that we hit...they look like fun for a repeat.  i was a bit off my bearings out there that day...much like Nic was today. 
 so those two are running quite close so we shall see who comes out victorious, it could be an interesting and close race.  stuff can still happen.  you generally can't totally predict who will win just because there are those factors that will always be out of your control, dogs, trail, weather and i guess we can add fatigue, it can mess you up.
 watching Nics video in Koyuk i felt badly for him.  he looked pretty beat down...it had been a rough run for his dogs and him.  nobody likes to waste energy off trail.
 two shots up is Sebastian...I'm not going to even attempt to spell his last name.  he hasn't run in the Iditarod for a bit, but he is friends with Brad so he was hanging out in the area off and on through the morning.  he does some writing about the race now. 
 here is another well known Iditarod musher.  Lance Mackey.  he is quite popular in Alaska for sure.  his kennel is the comeback kid kennel, i think that is the name.  he's always nice to everyone.  loves his dogs.  he has won the Iditarod several times, but has had a lot of health issues. he mostly just battled through them and ran anyway.
 he did have a few really tough runs his last years.  his brother helped him out i think the last year he ran and he's just had to give up on these long races, this and the quest. 
 it was fun to see him out there.  he was helping as a handler on a friends team. 
 i pointed him out to my friend Karen, she was off like a rocket.  left me in the dust, haha.  next i knew i see her over there getting a selfie...it's an adorable selfie too.  i just laughed and took pictures from where i was...can't believe you can see anything with all the dust that must have been swirling around me. 
 you can see the banner for the start so we were right there close to the start...when Brad did get his team all lined out it wasn't too long of a walk to the start. 
 i believe karen is showing off her selfie with Mackey to Scott and Joe here.  sounds like it's up there with a photo she has with Bobby Orr.
 below Maixner is passing by.
 there were a few cute kids on sleds...this little gal was looking pretty happy out there.
 they put a photo of a "musher-gram" on the front page of the ADN today...have heard of them but not seen one. it was from Nic Petit's mom. 
 the papers seem to like Brad, no surprise there he is super friendly and welcoming to all it seems.  Karen figures he'll get the most congenial award, not sure what that one is actually called. they have a banquet in Nome later this week and hand out awards.  he was mentioned in today's paper in a little article about what various mushers eat.  some eat pretty well, others just are more into simplicity.  Buser is eating beef and shrimp...premade, frozen and just dropped in hot water to heat up...sounds like Brad is doing similar. 
 recall one musher a few years back saying he always carried some twinkies because no matter what the weather does those things don't get altered. 
 Seavey isn't liking this years trail.  deep snow, soft trails...he prefers it hard and fast...you don't get to select the trails so you have to adapt to them.  just more work in the deep stuff from all I'm hearing.  Seavey is 58...stuff does get a bit more tough as you get older...the pain lasts a bit longer. i hear that.
 another cute kid on a sled
 the hook...it's a secondary brake on the sled. those dogs are powerful.
 starting to get the team ready for their run through town.
 Sebastian giving Jerry some attention.
 my turn...such a sweet pup. 
 more cute kids...you see a pattern here.
 watched that kids flick today...the one about emotions.  i take care of kids so i do hear about these movies, but i don't have kids so i get curious. can't say it was one of the best kids flicks but oh well. 
 it was a really nice day out there.  enjoyed out walk..came home and did the taxes for myself and my little non-profit.  nice to have that out of the way.  the non-profit is easy...we seem to have an easy time with the non part of profit.  haha.  mostly we advocate for the sanctuary... Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary.  it's an amazing place by the way. soon the walrus will make their way back south,at least the males.  the crew will head back out there to greet visitors and watch over the islands. 
 ran into my friend Deb being a handler.  she is off to Nome and then to Safety to work as a volunteer for the Iditarod.  i told her to try and say hey to Brad for us. Safety is the last place before you get to Nome.  by road, it's like 20 miles, in the winter snow machine travel often, occasionally the road is still open that far i guess though. it's really just a bar out there in the middle of nowhere. wasn't open when i was out there in the summer a few years back. 
 fun to see Deb and i think she liked her pics.  worked with her when i lived in Ketchikan.  she still lives there.  great place.  we got together for a dog walk before she headed out.  always fun to catch up with friends you don't see often.
 just checked and Joar is in and out of Elim.  weather must be decent.  not taking a rest...he's just taking off. the more time he can make on Nic before he gets to White Mountain the better jump he'll have when his 8 hour mandatory stop is up.
 Brad is in the pack with peck, Berington, Pohl and Nolan . they all seem to have left Kaltag around the same time.  it's a long run to the coast...hopefully, they are all having a decent time of it. coast, then they will be out on the ice...
 Watkins, Schonberger and Cicatello are at the back of the back still making their way along the Yukon River to EAgle Island.  Schonberger is the furthest back.  he'll have to keep in range. if you get too far back they will make you scratch.  can't keep all those volunteers back for too much of a straggler.  Schonberger is running a team of Huskies out of EAgle River.  beautiful team, but the pure huskies not always the fastest out there, especially in this heat. 
 Watkins is currently running for a Senate seat in Kansas.  he ran last in 2015, his goal was to be the first to do the Iditarod and summit Everest in the same year.  he got the Iditarod completed but unfortunately while he was on Everest a large earthquake hit in Nepal, a 7.8.  22 died on the mountain that day in avalanches, related to the quake.  6 of those lost were on his team.  he was up higher, but the base camp and his tent were totaled. his Iditarod belt buckle was in the tent.
 2 years later another musher Larry Daugherty was able to accomplish this goal, he completed the Iditarod and Everest in the same year.  he is only running this year because a friend of his Jason Campeau was injured during the quest.  he has a concussion.  so he asked Larry to take his team to Nome. this happened just a few weeks before the race so Jason's Dad drove the dogs out here from Canada....everything all ready, bags already dropped along the trail...so he had to get to know these dogs pretty fast. he is currently running in 32nd spot...not bad on short notice.
 i guess he actually took a metal detector up to Everest with him and did a search for Watkins belt buckle.  he never found that but did find other remnants from his camp site up there on Everest.  he and his wife put those in a framed box and he gave that to Watkins at the restart in Willow...that was cool video. great back story as well.
 the stories from the trail are always one of the things i love most about this.  there are some great people out there. so many adventurous souls all together running dogs 1000 miles. 
 i better head to bed.  we should have an Iditarod winner tomorrow some time.  may be early Wednesday morning. 
  thankful for:  A.  those who are adventurous and inspire us all B.  beautiful blue skies and relaxing walks with friends  C. having my taxes out of the way

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