Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Iditarod 2014

I know those of you who are in the "deep freeze" in the Lower 48 do not want to hear this, but I got sunburned at the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod in Anchorage last Saturday.  That's how nice it was.

 I didn't take any photos of the start in downtown this year.  You can check out my past years' post for those pictures.

We did go to a point about half way through town to watch the mushers pass through later in the day.  Last year we learned a new term: "trailgating" (instead of tailgating).  Horizon Transportation served free food to all in attendance.  There were foot-long hot dogs, chili, cheese, sour cream, chips, cookies, hot chocolate, etc.  They wrap hot dogs for the mushers and their passengers, and then someone hands them to the mushers as the teams pass by.  Sometimes the mushers stop, but most often the hot dogs are delivered "on the fly".

The mushers give lots of high fives, since they are so close to the crowds.  It was a great family atmosphere.  Kids were sliding down small hills, skating, skiing and playing in the snow nearby, well within view or their parents.

There was serious consideration to moving the start of the race to Fairbanks, due to the lack of snow cover in Anchorage, and more importantly, in areas of the race which are dangerous and rough even with normal snow coverage.  You can check out many of the Iditarod stories for this year's race on kttu.com and on Iditarod.com.  Many of the mushers have already been injured and have had to scratch, just a few days into the race.
For those of you who have kids or are teachers, you can go to Iditarod.com and click on the EDUCATION link.  Under that link you will find another link called Zuma's Paw Prints.  These are Iditarod stories written from the viewpoint of several dogs.  Kids really enjoy reading the stories.

Crowds along the race trail in Anchorage

Trail guards (one of the jobs that are staffed by volunteers)

Activities near the trail

Delivering hot dogs to the mushers

Musher Photos

 Cat-In-the-Hat Musher Hugh Neff, always 
promotes children's literacy when he races


We also attended the start of the Junior Iditarod the weekend before the actual Iditarod start.  It had to be moved to a location about an hour further north of the usual start, due to lack of snow and warm temperatures.