Did you recognize the opening line from the Iditarod song? It’s that time of year. Saturday morning we watched the first 20 of the 71 mushers leave from downtown Anchorage for the start of Iditarod XXXVIII. A Kotzebue friend’s son is the youngest musher this year, 18 years old. There are some of the “old” mushers that we plan to follow, too. And, like most years, there are a couple of folks running who pique interest; a man from Jamaica, who said he hoped to do better than the Olympic bobsled team, and a man from Scotland who had his team sporting plaid coats and took off wearing a kilt (bare legs above the boots), to live bagpipe accompaniment. I remember when we moved to Sequim, we were shocked to find that the start of the Iditarod wasn’t televised on at least one station down there. Saturday morning was a nice return to a memorable annual event though some of the mushers are sons/daughters or even grandchildren of some of the mushers we used to check in at the checkpoint in McGrath. And, sadly, some of the famous ones are no longer with us: Joe Redington, Susan Butcher, Norman Vaughan…
This year’s route is the Northern Route, so there won’t be any teams coming through here. Our classes will be following the race though and trying to beat the mushers to Nome by reading books. One book or chapter is worth a mile. Today’s race is fast; finishing in approximately 10 days. That means 100 books and/or chapters a day!
The K-2 kids made model sleds complete with mandatory equipment which includes: snowshoes, an ax, eight booties per dog, a cooker, sleeping bag, vet book, and promotional materials.
Any free moments were spent mushing around the room and, of course, at the kids’ request, the sleds, dogs and mushers went home with them on Friday.
“Well, give me a team with a good lead dog and a sled that’s built so fine.
And let me mush those miles to Nome–1049.
And when I get back to my home,
Hey! I can tell my tale.
I did, I did, I did the Iditarod Trail”.