“Winterdance” …says it all!

While sitting at gymnastics practice, I chatted with another mom who happened to be from Anchorage. I told her about my girls’ upcoming Iditarod adventure and I jokingly asked her if she had any idea about attire for the pre-race musher’s banquet. She quipped that “black-tie” affairs simply don’t exist in Alaska, but she wasn’t sure what to suggest because the Iditarod banquet was indeed a big deal. Shortly after she left, I dug out a book that our pastor suggested about dog mushing and the race. I had already read half of the book and laughed throughout Gary Paulsen’s hilarious descriptions of dog-mushing mishaps – *relating to many of them! Ironically, on the day I joked about the musher’s banquet, I came to the chapter in the book called, “Pre-Race” – an in-depth description of the event… which made me actually say out loud, “Oh Lord, what in the world we’re getting our girls into!”
Excerpt from the book, “Winterdance”:
“In my life I have been to many banquets but the one in Anchorage before the race takes all honors for both quality and length. Attending the pre-race banquet is mandatory. If a musher does not go to the banquet dressed in full mushing gear (fur hats and parkas) and meet all the people, and does not go up and drew his/her bib number in front of the audience, he/she is disqualified before the race starts. It should be a night of peace, setting the mind, getting gear and dogs ready – as should the entire last two or three days before the race. It is instead, a night of partying, dancing, raising hell – and for some – serious professional drinking.”
Seriously though, a highly recommended book! Funny, insightful, and informative about the last great race on earth… The Iditarod!

Something’s in the air.

On a country road with seven excited sled dogs, it’s true – many things are in the air. The overwhelming element however; pure excitement! Excitement stemming from the bloodlines of long ago Alaskan ancestors, triggered by a change in weather and an all-knowing sense of what that means. To the dogs, what they live for is about to begin and they know it – a genetic urge to run and pull and please. We’d never known a sled dog before we owned a team – I mean, really KNOWN. We have pet dogs – dogs that ¬†protect us from the UPS man, sit in our laps during movie night and stare for hours in amazement at Christmas bulbs on the tree. Pet dogs. Sled dogs on the other hand, are a different breed – almost a different animal altogether. And because we are getting to know them for what and who they are, it’s totally cool for us to see their natural instincts kick in! Our first fall run went well today. With a few plump dogs from a summer of too many treats, we took it slow this morning and ran them a short distance down a country road – three dogs pulling a dry cart and four dogs pulling a four-wheeler. They all did great! And so it begins… our next adventure into our first full winter with sled dogs and possibly even…racing! Hike!

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Iditarod Ceremonial Start: Booked!

With our airline tickets and hotel room booked, it’s official: we’ll be traveling back to Alaska in March! Carlie and Chloe have been invited to ride with the Berrington twins during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Race. They will ride behind the mushers on what’s called a “whip sled” for eleven miles through the town of Anchorage. The video link below shows a good clip of the start along with the whip sled rider. We are also invited to be guests at the “Musher’s Banquet” before the race! This is going to be quite an adventure – we are all very excited! Better start looking for some parka’s for the girls – wonder if they come in XS!

Video: Iditarod Ceremonial Start