01 March 2008

The Iditarod Starts

I don't usually post on weekends but today is the start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, also known as the great serum race...probably the most famousest of sled dog races out there. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this race it is a 1150 mile race from Anchorage to Nome. From the Iditarod web-site:

The Iditarod Trail, now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ophir, Ruby and beyond to the west coast communities of Unalakleet, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain and Nome. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled. Heroes were made, legends were born.

In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail became a life saving highway for epidemic-stricken Nome. Diphtheria threatened and serum had to be brought in; again by intrepid dog mushers and their faithful hard-driving dogs. The Iditarod is a commemoration of those yesterdays, a not-so-distant past that Alaskans honor and are proud of.

This race is a bit different then then the Yukon Quest in that there are more checkpoints and it goes through more communities, i.e. mushers don't have to rely so much on wilderness camping. This year there is a record 96 teams in the race. For both the Yukon Quest & the Iditarod mushers must first qualify for the race through other shorter races. One year there was no snow in Anchorage so they had to hold the start in Fairbanks - two dear friends of mine (who took the pictures on this page) from Europe were particularly fascinated by the range of clothing you could see even at 40 below zero; everything from shorts & t-shirt, complete homemade fur get-ups (including a skunk hat!), carhardts and bunny boots, and military fatigues for the folks from the base.


  1. The cable channel, Versus, showed highlights from last year's race. I hoping they do it again. I love watching. But I bet it's even better in person.

  2. I guess that the photos mean you were lucky enough to be at the start (Anchorage and Wasilla?) of the Iditarod this year? I was up there last year, and got to see the ceremonital start for the second time, then followed the entire race via internet, and was just so excited about it all. We planned on going up for this year's start, but the timing didn't work out.

    Last year's DVD "As Tough as They Come" was really good.

  3. Wayfarer...you gotta go on one of those before the end of your days.

  4. Great post on the iditarod! It sure is a fun event to watch, even online...

    I'm a former resident of Nome and can't get enough of the race....Check out our coverage of Iditarod 2008 on iditablog.com.

  5. Honestly, you are like National Geopraphic On Line! fantastic. You add such an air of legitimacy to my blog reading-thanks.

  6. I love a sport that has so much room for individual personality.

    It's kind of like blogging that way!

  7. I have to draw the line on those shorts at 40 below - Jeebus!

  8. It looks like such a wonderfully exciting time for dogs and humans. I'm wondering - do teams go in it for money or is it for fame and enjoyment?

  9. seeking solace, it's fantastic in person. Never seen it on TV but I do listen on the radio!

    silver fox, no, I wasn't actually. These photos are from the 2003 re-start that happened in Fairbanks due to lack of snow (sorry I didn't caption that!).

    liv, :) literally.

    crazymumma, I may just have to! For now I'm content to handle dogs and volunteer on the trails and cheer mushers on.

    josh, welcome & thanks! yeah, I'm the same way with both the Quest & the Iditarod. Will definately check out your blog! --- hey! I've been there :) Was thinking of posting it for people here who want to follow it. Love the podcast part in particular.

    doris-rose, legitimacy? You must have me confused with someone else :)

    jocelyn, indeed!

    qt, yeah, you kind of wonder what their procreating power is after that.

    parlance, teams do win money but it also costs a lot of money to enter so usually the money just goes back into the dog teams (particularly dog food) and the teams are really there to have a good time and test themselves. Most don't even do it for the fame although there are a handful that get plenty.

  10. I find that event one of the Wonders of the World that I'd like to see. It's on the list.

    I'd like to see it all, from dogs, to people, to clothing...

    I have an odd fascination with Alaska. Maybe because it is the antithesis to where I live?

  11. julie, well I hope you get to do it. I think a lot of people have a fascination with Alaska - judging by all the questions I get here when I mention I've been living there!


Please leave your messages here...I am always delighted to have comments!