Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hans Gatt into Nome

I saw Lance under the Burled Arch, then reported to the Dog Lot for my first duty. Hans and team were in next, and here's a short video of his team. I didn't visit with Hans then, but caught up with him later, a nice, serious man. I was hoping that Hans would win, and prove that Lance was not the only one who could win the Quest and Iditarod in the same year.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trail Breakers

Backing up a bit, here. There is a crew of people that lead the race by snowmachine, marking the trail. This team, on iron dogs, arrive at Nome ahead of the leaders.
Over at the BSSD Forum, we have a lot of affection for this group, anonymous, but appreciated. Here, they arrive in Nome.

Video by Gatekeeper! Lance wins Iditrod #4!

Decisions, decisions. As Lois posted, we were anticipating the arrival of Lance Mackey as the winner of the 2010 Iditarod. We were housed in the most convenient place in Nome to watch the finish, a balcony from just across the Burled Arch. From past experience, I knew that going down the the finish line for the top ten meant fighting for just a glimpse of what was going on there. I've never gotten a good picture from that location, but being in the crowd as part of the celebration is intoxicating.
I shot this video of Lance from the balcony. It was a different perspective than I have ever seen the finish, and I really enjoyed seeing it.

Would you believe Golf on the Berring Sea?

First you come dressed for the game of golf.  'Santa' Paul made his own costume, including fur club covers.  Wouldn't want those suckers to get cold!

and these are the artic variety golfing shoes.  He designed these and had them made locally.

Here is a more 'conservatively dressed' golfer getting ready to tee off.  Notice the balls are painted green.  I heard last year they were white.......made for a very long game.

Nice followthough, but the ball's still on the ground.  Oh well, try again.  Notice other golfers in the distance.  Golfers pay $50 to compete, fees go to charity, and the game is followed by a free corned beef and cabbage dinner.  And how many can say they played golf on the Berring Sea?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lois is my Hero!

I've always been just a little leery of sharing Nome stories with my friends. Nome is a unique place, several layers of cultures- Iditarod, Gold Mining and the rich Native history- and when I recall an event or a sight, most people have no point of reference.
Lois was the best travel companion, always open to new people, new experiences. It was like taking a seven-year-old to Disneyland for the first time!
She had endless energy, even got me to try Eskimo Ice Cream. She baited me, saying this was soooo good. After last year, and trying Muktuk (whale or walrus bubber) I was a bit reluctant. Eskimo Ice Cream was not cold, was not sweet. Although I think the reason it was not cold was that we arrived late, and it had been sitting out a bit. It is made of berries and seal oil. Being that seal is a mammal, I would not expect it to taste like fish. But I suppose that if all you ate was fish, that is what you taste like. Come on, now Lois, did you really like the Ice Cream?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Snowmachining the Artic Tundra

Gretchen Steiner (FloridaDogFan or FDF) and Lois (JeanieB), set off on a snowmachine ride to a mountain outside of Nome.  Neither of us has even BEEN ON a snowmachine before.  To point out how Alaska differs from the 'Outside', we signed no releases, were given very little instruction, and no helmet or other safety gear.   My instruction on how to operate the machine lasted about one minute.  That's Alaska!

When we reached one mountain top, we took pics while our guide hunted for the musk ox herd.

Hills and frozen marshes in the distance.

The Musk Ox herd.  Notice their 'coat' wave in the wind.

The 'Fisher's' talk to our guide, Zach, about the terrain and animals of the region

Zack and Gretchen on the barren mountaintop

In the distance (mid pic) is a gold mine dredge.  And far off - over the Berring Sea - you can see Russia from here........(teehee)

And these are Musk Ox footprints.

Don't we look like we've conquered Everest?

And as we drove back down to the valley, and looked up, the herd from a distance.

Our Wonderful Hosts in Willow

Sarah checks race standings on her computer while Pam chats with Patricia, cleaning up in the kitchen.  Sarah and Pat retired to Alaska from Florida and love it!  They have a wonderful cozy home and B&B called Noah's Ark.  Yep, they are animal lovers.

Our cozy room in the Willow B&B

Pam relaxes after our 'adventure' on sleds.  Love the little 'cache' decor.

And with 'Barney' on the porch.  It's a pleasant 5 below 0 this morning

Had dinner with Brenda and Bill Borden, and Bill's Mom, Juanita. 

Anchorage to Nome from the Air

The Red Lantern Award, signifying the end of the race, and given to the final finisher, rode on our plane to Nome from Anchorage

Chugach Mountains

Alaska Range

Near Denali

Yukon River

Another river - Kuskokwim?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Other interesting 'sights' in Nome

"The heck with pulling a sled, I'd rather drive this pick-up"
"And I'll arrest you if you don't drive it right"
Santa Paul, a Nome resident, wears these duds he made himself to the Berring Strait Golf Tournement
The boots he designed and had made
You are seeing right, they golfed on the sea ice.  Quite a sight
"Moose", "Santa Paul", Moose's DH, Conrad, and "FlDogFan"
Jeff King and his awsome parka
Volunteers and visitors gather at the 'Mini' to rest and visit

Everyone was thrilled with the first Jamacain dog musher, Newton Marshall

A large crowd, including Lance and Tonya Mackey await Newton's arrival
Jamaican music played and fans waited with their country's flag and 'Rootin' for Newton' buttons and t-shirts
And here he comes!
carrying the Jamaican flag himself
smiling ear to ear
happy to have made it to Nome, thus completing both the Iditarod and the Quest in consecutive years
He was known on the trail for his sense of humor and bubbly personality. 

Volunteering in the Dog Lot gave me lots of good shots

My friend, Marcia Cleason, wrote a beautiful parody from Edgar Allen Poe's well known poem.  This is a good place for it, "Emm"

 The Dogs

See the start gate with the dogs,

Eager dogs,

With the fans decked out in parkas from their Lands End catalogs.

See the waiting sled dogs jump

And their wagging tails thump

On the icy Willow Lake.

You can tell they’re really pumped,

As their harnesses they shake.

How they tug, tug, tug,

While the musher gives a hug

To each friend and family member

With advice and dialogs.

Oh, the dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs,

Dogs, dogs, dogs,

Oh, the barking and the yipping of the dogs.

See the happy, running dogs,

Racing dogs,

Bounding over ice and tundra,

Through the blizzards and the fogs,

And the cold Alaska night.

How they bark out their delight.

Oh, the lovely howling sound,

All in tune,

While the wind blows all around

To the moon,

And the rippling Northern Lights,

A breathtaking Arctic sight,

As they run, run, run,

You can tell they’re having fun,

While the musher poles and jogs.

Oh, the dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs,

Dogs, dogs, dogs,

Oh, the running and the pulling of the dogs

See the fans who follow dogs,

Husky dogs,

While they doublecheck the tracker

And the many mushing blogs,

As they click, click, click,

Checking out their top ten picks,

And their eyelids start to droop

After chatting with the group.

There’s the Anchorage Daily News

And the awesome Mushing Loon,

Sled Dog Central and the Nome cam and Backstage Iditarod,

Iditarod Insider and of course Iditablog.

But the BSSD Forum is the best website of all.

Oh, the dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs,

Dogs, dogs, dogs,

Oh, the rooting and the cheering for the dogs.

See Nome city with the dogs,

Winning dogs,

As they start to run down Front Street while the musher gees and haws.

Ah, the cheering of the crowd

Makes the winning musher proud.

Hear them bark, bark, bark

Underneath the burled arch.

Panting tongues and icy noses.

They just ran across Alaska.

No one did it any faster.

So the happy musher poses,

As they wear the wreath of roses,

Giving love and fond affection to their dogs.

Oh, the dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs,

Dogs, dogs, dogs,

So amazing, so inspiring,

Oh, the dogs.

OK, not in the dog lot, but a 'wannabe' with her young owner 'dreaming' under the arch between arrivals