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North Wapiti Siberian Husky Kennels
Iditarod 2008 - Tales from the Trail

March 1, 2008

Ceremonial Start

Well, here we are - March 1st. Trainings done, team selected, gear ready..well mostly..It's almost time to hit the trail!!!

The meetings and all on Thursday were pretty painless. I find it really amusing to watch the 'names' in the sport all start jockeying for position in the race at the Musher's Meetings. They will question Race Marshall Mark Nordman in detail about specific rules, trying to find how flexible Mark is going to be in allowing them to push the rule. Mark isn't. He knows us all; he puts up with nothing and always keeps the spirit of the Race in mind when making judgments. Many competitors keep trying though and the dance is an amusing one to watch!

One thing I was saddened to hear is that they will no longer be allowing us to make phone calls home from checkpoints. Any internet access that we were allowed in the past is also gone. So, there will be no reports from the trail from mushers this year. Kind of sad, as I think that accessibility of mushers was always one of the coolest things about the sport.

A lot of the reason for this, in my opinion, is because of the new tracking devices they are testing on the trail this year. In order to keep the information from these devices available to only fans and not mushers, it is going to be necessary for them to keep a tight rein on us. They claim the fans want this, but I don't think the consequences of these devices, in terms of the effect on the competition and the changes in accessibility of mushers have ever been explained to the fans. I'm sure most of you don't want us turned from living, breathing human beings to icons on your computer screen. In my opinion, that is the direction the Race is going. Please, as fans you need to make your wishes heard. I recommend that you email Iditarod directly ( and tell them what you want.
This is an important time in the history of this great event and I think we all, as fans and participants, need to make wishes heard.

Anyway, off my soapbox!!

I was pretty happy with my bib draw on Thursday night. Nineteen is a good number. I googled the number 19 and got a link to Wikipedia - I really could find nothing inspirational in there, but I still think it sounds like a good number! J

It will mean we get home at a reasonable hour today so I can finish packing and tying up loose ends before my yearly 'vacation' begins tomorrow morning!

The Open House went very well yesterday. I'm sure the dogs rate Open House Day as one of their favorite things about Iditarod. They got smooshed and snuggled all day. Kara got showered in Denta Stix - to the point that we had to cut her off them. She looked splendid in her new 'Golden Collar' and even consented to pose for a few pictures with me before bolting up to the house to try to talk guests out of Doug's famous smoked salmon and/or more Denta Stixs. We figure that close to 100 people showed up yesterday. It was pretty cool. Lots of old friends and a number of new ones! We are so grateful to Jamie and Harry for not only allowing us to open their home, but for being great hosts and just putting so much of the event together for us! HUGE thanks to Heather Walls and Dan Rehak too, who not only were my 'marketing manager' and 'bankers' yesterday but who provided the beautiful maps of the kennel area, complete with pictures, so everyone could figure out who all the dogs were when I wasn't around.  We also appreciated the help of Don and Mary Uhlir, visiting from Arizona and my super cool niece, Corrine, who was helping out where ever she could and giving great tours of the dog yard!

Anyway, it is 4:30 now. Mark is up and I need to jump in the shower before we start loading dogs at 5am.

We will see many of you in Anchorage this morning. If you are in town, make sure to stop by and say 'hey'. That is what today is all about!


Karen's Diary - Iditarod 2008 Edition

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