Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Last Great Race on Earth

Early Morning at the the starting gate
The past two weeks have been hectic at work.  I am on the committee to oversee the "Idita-read" where kids and staff trade minutes read for miles on the trail, with the goal of "reading" from Anchorage to Nome, just like the mushers in the "Last Great Race on Earth", the Iditarod.  My Special Education students created musher mobiles, that we used in one of the two display cases we set up for the event that also included "real" dog mushing equipment.

Despite growing up in Alaska, I have never attended the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in Anchorage.  I don't recall attending the Fur Rondy either, which started last week.  After all that time spent on dog mushing, and the Idita-read, I really wanted to experience some of the events.

Very early this morning, we headed into Anchorage for breakfast and walked around, talking with dog handlers, and experiencing the pre-race excitement.

I wanted to find a team for my class to follow.

The dogs all seemed happy and much smaller than I ever imagined.

Then I noticed this team of handlers, laying down hay for the dogs.  Something I hadn't seen any other teams doing.

After explaining my mission to find a musher to follow, the dog handlers were very helpful and let me take pictures, spoke with me, and let me pet the dogs.

This little girl was not having anything to do with the pre-race excitement and refused to leave her box; the handler let her stay for the time being.

One of the lead dogs -- she was a sweetheart that loved the attention of anyone who would stop and pet her.

The sled waiting for the race to begin.

Harnesses hanging neatly on the fence.

"Kenneling up" under the truck.

A friend of mine was near where the day's ceremonial start finishes and snapped pictures of all teams as they came in, here is our musher and dog team.

Musher information:
The question for me....Iknitarod or Idita-read!?!?!?!?!??!


Gracey is not my name.... said...

Very cool!!! I might share this with my class....can I borrow your pictures? I cannot get on Blogger at school, so I'd have to copy everything and load it at school...we have state testing starting this week, so it might be a good distraction for them..

Fiber Jewels said...

Thanks for asking, you may slurp the pictures. I have edited to add links to Idita-read, as well as information on our musher and a link that will take you directly to Jerry's page on the Iditarod webite.

There is a TON of educational resources on the Iditarod website.