I love to watch the start of the Iditarod!

Yesterday was the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in Anchorage. Today is the actual start of the Iditarod here in Willow. I have mixed feelings about the way the restart is handled, mostly because all the people who run the show do not live in Willow and don’t see the inconveniences and irritations their choices in how it’s run causes the locals, and when brought to their attention, they dismiss it saying it’s only one day. But, that’s a whole different story for a different day.

I do however, love to watch the dogs run. I have had the opportunity to ride in a dog sled, as well as “drive” a dog sled on several occasions. These dogs are athletes, and this is their favorite thing to do, run. We live only about 1/2 mile from the lake where the restart takes place so we often go out and watch a number of the dog teams run. Each team starts at intervals, and it takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete the roster. It usually runs on 2 minute intervals between racers, this year it seemed faster, but I wasn’t paying attention to the clock, so it probably was not any different.

The race is approximately 1000 miles, depending on the route they use that particular year, and commemorates a serum run for a diphtheria outbreak in Nome. There are many sites with the history of the Iditarod on the internet and they are fun to read. But for me, I love reading about the dogs. There are also many different stories about sled dogs, particularly the lead dogs, who have saved their teams and their humans on many different occasions. If you have an interest in dogs, dog sled teams, or the Iditarod, I would highly recommend reading the stories about the dogs.

In years past we have walked all the way out to the race trail. That’s a hike in the snow, especially if there’s any powder and the trails have been messed up. Sometimes it takes us 30 minutes to walk the last quarter of a mile to get out to the trail, but this year we have a working snow machine, and my son was excited to get out and ride a little bit. We drove over to the trail and I was so grateful for the speed at which we got there, remembering all the years before. We watched for a little while and then headed home to eat lunch. It was a fun afternoon and I will be interested to watch the progress of the racers and see who wins.

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