Sure it's Kiri Nagalong Day 4.....But it's also the OFFICIAL START of the 35th IDITAROD Sled Dog Race. Here's a little sweet shot of the ceremonial start.
For those of you out of the loop, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race is an 1100 (yes, one thousand and one hundred) mile race from "Anchorage" to Nome, through some of the most grueling terrain, weather, and other natural hazards most mere mortals can't even imagine. The dogs and their mushers are true super-athletes in every sense of the word. The ceremonial start takes place on Saturday from downtown Anchorage. Over 15,000 mushers, handlers and spectators crowd the streets. Roadways into and out of downtown are blocked off. In an ironic turn of events, truckloads of snow (previously hauled off the roads to make driving safe) are hauled into town and a snow pack is built up on over 5 miles of city roads until meeting the trails that crisscross the city. Some years, the ceremonial trail even winds out to the Eagle River area...depending on how much snow we have, of course.
The race then restarts on Sunday in Willow, Alaska and travels through wilderness for the next 1100 miles. Mushers travel through mountain passes and down gorges, along frozen rivers and across frozen sea ice along the coastline of the Seward Peninsula on the Bering Sea. Moose, snowstorms, brutal cold, wind, river or seawater overflows...all are dangers to the exhausted, sleep deprived men and women, and the canine team.
Their has been a lot of grief over the years from PETA saying that the Iditarod is inhumane and cruel to the dogs. And yes, dogs die sometimes. These dogs are athletes, in top shape. They are well-trained year round, and fed appropriately high calorie, high protein diets, vet checked before and during the race....and most importantly...these dogs love to run. This is what they do. They are some of the happiest dogs on earth. The people who protest are not from Alaska, and do not understand the breed, the sport, or the training. Enough said.
For more information about this fascinating and uniquely Alaskan extreme sport (distance mushing), check out this year's Iditarod website!
Keep your ears and eyes open for my personal favorite, Dee Dee Jonrowe . Ok, If these links work, thank Joan & Cate!
Not much else going on this weekend...lots of housecleaning...very satisfying to have clean floors, dustfree horizontal surfaces and nice shiny clean toilets yessirree! Reorganized some yarn, did a little grocery shopping, helped DD with a school project on French castles..(you remember...she hates history...we are trying to make this interesting for her...any help/suggestions etc. from the peanut gallery is truly welcome...) But most fun but very poignant was the couple of hours spent with DD discussing college goals, life goals, etc. On the one hand, she wants to be a veterinarian...on the other, she doesn't want to commit to the time and focus required to obtain the GPA needed to get there. She's a solid B student, with a good handful of A's thrown in...but can be inconsistent in study habits, attentiveness to detail...you know..typical teen stuff. Anyway....she/we stumbled across several interesting baccalaureate programs in Equine Management, both at public and private colleges/universities. It's a liberal arts based degree with a lot of biology, vet technology, animal husbandry, educational psychology (for teaching other riders/training etc.) along with basic accounting and management courses. Looks very promising. We've sent off for information from several. My baby is growing up. She's always been headstrong, high-spirited, stubborn/willful....and my longtime friend (since jr. high!) sent me a book when DD was little ....on "Raising the Spirited Child". I always remember the message...paraphrased, these kids already have most of the tools they need for success and happiness....your job as a parent is to provide the boundaries and guidance needed for safety and provision of the moral compass...the rest is all theirs". So far...so good. I can't imagine her leaving..yet..but on the other hand, the most important things are to have a passion in your life for something...and if you can develop the tools and skills you need to make a living at it, WOW..(take my word for it!)
DH came home tired and cold from shooting the Ceremonial Start for a NOAA project. I made homemade chicken & dumplings, and we vegged out on the couch and watched "The Prestige"...wow..very interesting movie. Learned some things I certainly didn't want to know. But it was very very well acted. (IMHO) Ok..no more links today...see, i can link movie trailers...and all sorts of other things. Whoohoo!
..not much knitting...one sleeve left to do on the Silver Thaw KPS....Kiri is wetted down and drying so I can start her major surgical overhaul later this week. Don't forget to nag......there've been lots of little Alaska goodies going into the prize box! YOU COULD ALREADY BE A WINNER!
Have a great knitting day, keep up with the dog race, and don't forget to leave a nag comment!