"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
The noise is overwhelming. Howls fill the air and if you didn’t know better, you’d think that hundreds of wolves had converged in the city. A lot of fanfare and even more wild yips and the team of 15 sled dogs pant down the snowy chute at full-bore. This is in their blood, they yearn to run – and 1000 miles of Alaskan wilderness stretch before them, beckoning.
The famed and legendary Iditarod is in full swing right now. My mom is visiting some of her friends in Anchorage and on Saturday she got to go the Willow, the first checkpoint on the Iditarod trail to watch the teams pass through. I have to say that I’m brimming with jealousy and oh, so excited for her! I can’t wait to hear all about it.
It all started with a plush toy. My dad has worked in seafood quality assurance for most of my life. In fact, it’s the reason we moved to Alaska when I was 15 years old. But when I was younger my dad would make short seasonal trips to Alaska each year. When I was two or three, he brought me back a little, plush, Husky dog. Laugh all you want, but I still have it. And it started a childhood interest for Huskies. Now I try to catch videos of the Iditarod sled dogs (yes, I realize they aren’t Siberian Huskies) and I’m still transfixed by them.
I’ve long been fascinated by this race that pits man and dog against the wild Alaskan frontier. These men and women who survive the frozen wilderness are phenomenal for accomplishing such a feat, win or lose the race. And the history of this race’s origins is equally amazing to me, heroism borne from necessity. Then there are the dogs… Well, the dogs are some truly fantastic creatures, running sometimes 100 miles in a day at below zero degree temperatures. Born to run, burning to run. It’s amazing!
So when my mom next calls, I expect a full report of how spectacular it was to see this great race. I’ve never seen the Iditarod in person, but perhaps next year I can make that happen. My mom hopes to move to Anchorage within a year and a visit from her darling daughter around the first weekend of March could be quite àpropos… don’t you think?