Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

This is a forum for general discussion of dogsled racing, with a special focus on Alaska, and is open to all. It is expected that this area will see the most activity during the months leading up to, and during the annual Iditarod sled dog race. Pictures from races can be posted here. Hosting is provided by the Bering Strait School District (BSSD), and the area is open all year. Care to be one of our volunteer moderators? Contact us!

Moderators: fladogfan, libby the lab, mira, mamamia, sc-race-fan

Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby Moose » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:06 pm

Wow, AUK! Good going, girl...and team! Note that whenever/wherever you are, if there's a team of dogs ahead of you and your feet are on the runners, you ARE running Iditarod!! Whoop,whoop!

Okay. Now, where's Part 4 ?!?!?
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby flowerpower » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:43 am

Waiting, waiting, waiting....how will it all end? :shock:
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby Another UK Fan » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:17 am

Thank you all for your encouragement! And apologies for another long delay in getting the next bit out. Here it is - hope you like

Part 4

The tea break ended. The team re-assembled. I pulled the snow hook, released the brake, called 'away!' and we were, indeed, away. Back on the trail. I couldn't take my eyes from the dogs - their gait mesmeric, the quiet jingle of harness hypnotic. Eventually I looked up at the endless wilderness, breathing in its gorgeousness.

The trail narrowed to a smooth single lane edged by a knee-high border of snow. Ahead, a long left bend promised easy passage in its sweeping path. Clumps of trees nestled in the curve's left bank obscuring the view of the bend's trajectory. We - for we were a 'we' by now - entered the wide arced bend with a perfect gait, the gentle rasp of bootie on smooth trail thrumming a trail song so gentle and sweet. With a clear view ahead blocked by the trees, each section of bend revealed a new vista.

A new vista: a ten dog team running into us - head on. Within nano-seconds both teams were balled up into a tangled mess, the shock of the unexpected jolting us out of trance-like serenity. With the trees blocking the view, there had been no warning for either team. Quickly I stamped the snow hook down and jumped off the sled. The other musher was faster than me and he was already with the dogs who, being good natured, were enjoying the game and exchanging greetings. Rohn appeared immediately and got stuck in to disentangling the teams. This was tricky because we were on top of each other in a single track trail, so it was difficult to find space to place the disentangled dogs. The two men got on with the task - their experience showing through as they worked calmly and methodically together. The second team was parked up right behind me and the dogs were skittish, wanting to join in the fun. Rohn and the other musher cleared a small trail to the side so that the big team could pass us by. And then it was all over except for the unanswered questions: who was the musher? Who was the team? Did the dogs know each other?

We continued round the bend, arriving at a long and wide straight stretch. I got off the brake. The dogs stretched out and raced along, picking up speed. We had faced a trail test together and now it seemed we ran not just as a team, but a team with confidence in each other. If this relationship can happen in one day, how much more intense must it be for the Iditarod teams, I wondered.

It was dusk and we were heading for 'home'. Momentarily I realised the dogs could take me anywhere and I'd be none the wiser. Maybe I'd end up on the Iditarod trail itself . . . but much as the dogs like adventure, they also like food. They knew dinner was to be served at home and that's where we ended.

Back at the kennel the dogs were fed and watered and then ran - yes, still running - around the huge yard, playing together as the sun set on the Alaskan wilderness. It felt so good to see such happy dogs. It felt so sad that we would never be a team again. I said farewell, thanked them for an unforgettable day and then set my face to Anchorage and the comms room at Iditarod HQ.
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby Moose » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:16 pm

Does it get any better than that? I dare say it does not. Any trail with a team of dogs is heaven. But the first trail? Life changing. Is that true or not, AUKF? 8-)
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby Another UK Fan » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:36 am

Yes Moose - life changing! In so many, many positive ways :D :D :D
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby libby the lab » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:30 am

How AWESOME!
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby JeanieB » Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:42 am

UK Fan, you did a wonderful job of describing the experience, and brought back the joy on an emotional level, for me, of that first time. The heart really does soar, doesn't it!?

BTW, did you find out who the other 'tangle team' was?
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby Another UK Fan » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:38 am

libby the lab wrote:How AWESOME!


Yes -yes- yes- awesome ! :D :D :D
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby Another UK Fan » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:45 am

JeanieB wrote:UK Fan, you did a wonderful job of describing the experience, and brought back the joy on an emotional level, for me, of that first time. The heart really does soar, doesn't it!?


Thanks JeanieB - yes, the heart soars with joy!

JeanieB wrote:BTW, did you find out who the other 'tangle team' was?


Never found out who it was - very frustrating! Would love to hear the event from his perspective :D
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Re: Iditarod 2018 - volunteer tales

Postby fladogfan » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:47 am

You tell a wonderful tale AUK :D

Did you ask Rohn if he knew the other team?
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