Monday, March 12, 2012

40th & 25th

March SOLC

What do those two numbers have in common? They are both being celebrated in Alaska right now. Intrigued? Mush Read on.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race commemorates the 1925 diphtheria serum run to Nome, AK in an attempt to stop an epidemic. (The dog team relay was successful and arrived with the serum.) The trail has more historical significance then the serum run. Portions have been used by Native people for as long as there have been people in Alaska and in the late 1800s and early 1900s it was the primary land route for the gold rushes. Dog sledding was a sport, even back then. This is the 40th year of the Iditarod race as most people think of it.


I give my students the opportunity to become enthralled with the race each year and right now we are eagerly waiting to see who arrives in Nome first (which should be in the next day or so). We will follow the race until the red lantern is presented to the last team coming off the trail.

My intrigue with the race goes back to my Alaska days. In another life I used to lead tours through Alaska and the Yukon. I went on to train tour directors and spent some time living up north. During that time I was honored to meet and become friends with a family for whom the Iditarod is part of their legacy. Thanks to them I have even gotten to experience sled dogs up close (including a 50 mile jaunt one winter). I can't go through the first couple of weeks of March without following the race (much easier with things like GPS tracking, Twitter, and the internet) and missing that family.

So that is 40, what about 25? One of the things on my mom's bucket list was to see the Northern Lights. Since last week they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary I helped my step-dad prepare a trip to Chena Hot Springs for the occasion. They are on their way home right now and I am anxious to hear from them. Watching footage of the race there have been Lights dancing across the night sky - I just hope it was clear in Chena as well!



Iditarod photo credit: <a href="">Orloskaya</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
Northern Lights photo credit: <a href="">Studiolit</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


  1. My first graders are enthralled with the race, too! We are having so much fun following along and learning. I dream of getting to Alaska some day... and I would love to be able to see the Iditarod start and/or finish!

  2. I love how you shared so much information about two places and events connected to you.

  3. I haven't been there during the Iditarod, but I did get to visit Alaska a few years ago. I was impressed by how green it was (in July), and all the rainfall. It is a magical place and sooooo beautiful! I'd love to see the Nothern Lights. I hope I get to someday!

  4. That's great to hear that you share the race with your kids! I think that is so cool that you used to lead tours in Alaska. I still need to visit Alaska sometime. I hope your parents have a great time seeing the Northern Lights. That's definitely on my bucket list too.