Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One Month til Alaska!

It's February 9! Maybe not an important day - dreary middle of winter for most. For me, it means only one more month to wait until my second trip to Alaska. When I blogged my 2008 trip, I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience. However, rather than 'scratch an itch', that trip only 'fueled the fire' that has, maybe, become an addiction. People (friends now) in the mushing community warned me, but instead of heeding the warning, my sense of adventure was fed by those warnings.

So here I am again, planning what to pack, and how to pack as much 'umph' into two weeks as possible. This time I'm not as worried about 'packing my suitcase,' as packing is simpler than I originally thought for Alaskan winters: layers and layers and 'no frills or fashion police'. Put an inside layer outside if you want a change of color! After getting to encounter the start of the race, meeting mushers, families, and friends, and visiting kennels and a checkpoint alon the Alaska Range, I knew which things are etched in 'smiles on my soul,' and which were 'dreams satisfied'. I love Alaskans, especially people in the mushing community. I want to spend more time with them, more in their element. Anchorage was fun, but too much of a 'show'.

Nome became my target destination, because it is small, has both a native and 'adventurer' population, and I will get to experience the excitement of the Iditarod finish. I understand
the opportunit is there to meet a lot of mushing families and have time to get to know people. I will also be volunteering with the Iditarod Trail Committee in Nome.

I also wanted to spend more time with Pam, one of my 2008 'roommates', since we felt like kindred spirits from our first meeting, and since she has been to Nome several times, and can 'take me in tow'. I'll bet I learn a lot from her past experience (teehee to Pam). We will be staying in the home of a longtime Nome resident. There may be opportunities to fly out to Kotzebue or Unalakleet, or snowmachine out to Safety, but I'm not making those plans ahead; I want to be open to what happens in Nome as it unfolds.

Pam and I also have 'conjured up' another adventure before we leave the Matsu Valley for Nome. The festivities of the Iditarod Start are not to be missed. The excitement of hundreds of dogs howling to go can't be captured on video! It has to be heard.....and felt! That feeling prompted Pam and I to 'feel more of it'. The details of that we are keeping under our hats, but will be thrilled to share, if we can pull it off. So, I will be staying in Anchorage and Willow March 10 - 14, and will have time ot visit and explore the more populated area of Alaska before flying a thousand miles across the interior on March 15, over land that 60-plus dog teams will be traversing, toward the Burled Arch in the Greatest Race on Earth!