Monday, December 15, 2014

The Alaskan Iditarod

I want to travel to all 50 states and I haven't been to Alaska yet, but I've read lots of stuff by Jack London so I should be prepared.  

The Iditarod starts in Anchorage, Alaska and ends about 1,200 miles away in Nome. Martin Buser had the fastest finishing time, 22 hours, 46 minutes and two seconds.

Col. Norman Vaughan, competed in 13 races, his last when he was in his 80s. 

Vaughan died in 2005, four days after turning 100, but first he his first sips of alcohol because he had promised his mother he wouldn’t drink until he was 100.

Most Iditarods have about 65 teams of about 16 dogs each—that’s more than 1,000 dogs total.

In 1933, an Alaskan musher promoting the push for statehood, drove a team of wolves from Alaska to the Chicago World’s Fair.

"If I were to list 10 characteristics of mushers, the first six would be 'tough'." Veterinarian Dr. Michael Davis 

"It has been a tough race. If you actually think this is fun, you have a problem." 2004 Iditarod winner Mitch Seavey

"Any day when the team is really clicking and the trails are fast and the weather is about 10 to 20 degrees, that’s one of the best days of my life. . . You feel alive and that was one of the reasons why I so badly wanted to be back on the trail. I didn’t want to feel sick anymore" DeeDee Jonrowe, competed just three weeks after completing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Follow up:
Sled Dog Action Coalition left a comment. 

Most of what I assume I know about sled dogs is from reading Jack London. He definitely does NOT paint a rosy picture of sled dog life.


Unknown said...

From the Sled Dog Action Coalition, helpsleddogs(dot)org

Iditarod dogs suffer horrendous cruelty every day of their lives. Mushers have drowned, shot, bludgeoned and dragged many dogs to death. For example, Iditarod musher Dave Olesen drowned a litter of newborn puppies. Another musher got rid of unwanted puppies by tying them in a bag and tossing the bag in a creek. Mushers even have a saying about not breeding dogs unless they can drown them: “Those who cannot drown should not breed.”

Terrible things happen to dogs during the Iditarod. This includes: death, bloody diarrhea, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, kennel cough, broken bones, torn muscles and extreme stress. At least 143 dogs have died in the race, including four dogs who froze to death in the brutal cold.

Wendy McPitts said...

Sled Dog Action Coalition --

I am sickened regularly by how cruel humans are to animals. Thank you for sharing.