North Wapiti Iditarod 2000 Journal
McGrath to Takotna
Since this was were I had hoped take my 24-hour break, I had all
sorts of goodies packed in my drop bags. We all ate like kings and queens here!
A little later I looked out the checkpoint window to check on my
critters. There they were, sprawled out in their straw lapping up the rays of sunshine
a few were even lying on their backs sunning their bellies and around them were a
couple newspaper photographers snapping pictures. I muttered under my breath couldnt
those darn dogs pretend to be rough tough sled dogs just during the Iditarod!
Then I figured, what they heck, if they werent going to pretend neither was
I. So I went outside and dished out some good belly and ear rubs.
I had a nice conversation with one of the reporters about Siberian
Huskies on the trail. Some of you reading this might not be aware that Siberian Huskies
are not the norm on Iditarod, in fact only 3 all Siberian teams were participating in the
Race this year (myself, Blake Freking, and Nelson Shughart Jr.). The rest of the teams
consist of Alaskan Huskies, which are some sort of Nordic breed with other breeds added
for speed, such as German Shorthaired Pointer, Saluki, Setter, etc. They are fast, for
sure, but have lost a lot of the durable features that the Siberian Husky has such
as tough feet and the ability to stay warm in just about any temperature. The front cover
of the Anchorage Daily News the next day featured a lovely photo of my Howl a.k.a. Ch.NorthWapitis Mr.
Thurston Howl SDU and an article on Siberians
with quotes from both Blake and I. I heard
some comments that the article portrayed Siberians in a less then great light but I
thought that it was pretty accurate!
The dogs didnt start out of McGrath great. I was surprised
because they had come in so well. Maybe I hadnt rested long enough. It was just a
quick trip over to Takotna and I figured Id give them a four-hour or so break there
to try and pick up their spirits. The picked up pretty good once we were on the trail and
came into Takotna looking not too bad.
my surprise, Jamie Nelson was still there finishing up her 24-hour layover. After I got my
dogs fed and bedded down, I was able to have a quick hug and a word or two with her before
she headed out. Her dogs were looking great,
they seemed to be recovering well from their bout of kennel cough and she still had all
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