Just thought I'd take a moment to let everyone
know that Dasher, Sprite, Tess, Crunchie, Watt, Charge, Barq,
Hector, Moses, Jr, Batdog, Q, Mark and I all arrived back in
Willow very late last night (or early this morning, depending on
how you look at it). Everyone is doing great. The crew left
behind were extremely noisy and welcoming with their greetings!
Especially Kara and Jinx.
I will tell some more tales and such later, but just wanted to
take a moment to answer the one question that everyone seems to
have for me of late - and that is what about Snickers.
As sunset was just approaching Friday night, we crested Cape
Nome and a lovely view of the coast and Nome lay in front of us.
This has long been my favorite spot on the Iditarod Trail, not
just for it's beauty, but for it's special significance to me.
For my first finish in '01 and every one since, I have stopped
at this spot and spent a
few moments thanking my dogs for the journey and telling them
how much I value them all. I know many mushers do that in Nome,
but I have always preferred to have that quiet, special moment
with them out on the trail. Once we get to Nome things get so
hectic and out of control. At the top of Cape Nome, finishing is
pretty much a given, but you are still in the solitude and peace
that signifies most of the journey. It is a special spot for me
and where I have always known that Snickers belonged.
So, with a beautiful sunset beginning to color
the sky, I set my hooks and scattered all but a small amount of
Snickers ashes. I took time to tell her how much I adored and
missed her and how I would never forget her. Then I turned my
attention to my 12 current companions and told them each how
much I valued, loved them and how thankful I was for their
companionship and hard work on our journey to Nome.
Pets and ear scratches were given, I asked
Snickers to watch over teams on their journeys into Nome, told
her I'd see her again and then headed for the burled arch.
When we crossed under the finish line in Nome, I took the last
bit of her ashes and sprinkled them under the arch.
Lines from one of my favorite Robert Service poems ran through
my mind -
"A promise made is a debt unpaid and the trail has it's own
The promise I made to her in Grayling last year was now paid.
Goodbye my friend.