Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ansd it's off to Nome!

Time for that great Alaskan institution, the Iditarod. Pictures from last weekend, to be sure. Should have posted earlier but as usual life got in the way.

For those of you who do not wish to bother to look up my previous posts, the Iditrod is a dog sled race. Anchorage to Nome, over 1600 Km, with a slight detrour between Wasilla and Willow. Not enough snow these days to go the whole way, 50Km or so, because Wasilla is an urban heat island these days.  By great good fortune the race passses less than 2 Km from home. n fact as the road goes it is exactly 2.7 Km or a mile and a bit. So there we were. We took hot drins, padding, and our warm clothing although the temeratures were extremely mild, freezing or so. When we got there,  we found the usual Alaska family festival atmosphere. People bring tents, food, barbecues, children, and snow machines. These are known as "snowmobiles" in other states. These are thousands of them. Well, quite a lot, anyway. We arrived with a certain amount of time on hand. The  trick is not to be too early. The race starts at 2PM. It will take them about 25 minutes to get to where we are.

Still it is a big thing when the first teams arrive. They are in strict start order at this point, chosen at random. They have a compact not to get ahead at this point. That can wait for Rainy Pass. Still it is very exciting when the first team appears.

It is kind of difficult to take photographs,. because the sun is shining. Good, yes? Not for photography. You can't see your viewscreen (it's digital, stupid) in the glare! So eventually the driver goes past.

And if you have a program you cheer the driver on by name. Go. Joe! Always some people who are prepared. I am not one of them. The start order is on the Internet. I should really print out the start order!

Fianlly the dogs recede into the distance. We are thrilled. I'd be a lot more thrilled if it weren't for all those snow machines, but then, I am atavistic.

And they are off to Nome. Woof! Love those dogs. They are happy. They are pulling. That is their job. True craftsmen, er, craftsdogs. They are doing their job, and doing it well. As we admire crafstmen, we should admire craftsdogs.

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