When I last wrote, the Iditarod was just getting of to its start. The majority of mushers are now in, and Lance Mackey dominated the race. Once he reached the Yukon River, there never seemed to be any question that he would win it again this year. This is his third straight win of the Iditarod, a feat only matched by two other legendary mushers: the late Susan Butcher and Rick Swenson. Will he make history again next year and make it four in a row?
Despite the apparent ease with which Lance cruised to Nome, it was a brutal race this year. Weather conditions were the worst they’ve been in a while, with winds gusting to 70 mph on the coast and temperatures well into the below zero range. Many experienced mushers were forced to stop and take cover from the wind; others scratched completely, rookies and veterans alike. And, unfortunately, the number of dog deaths this year was unusually high – five so far, with several mushers still out on the trail. Veterinarians are puzzled as to the cause of death for all of these dogs yet, though hypothermia is suspected for two of them, both in the team of a rookie musher from Wasilla who got trapped in high winds in an exposed section of trail. (see the ADN story at http://www.adn.com/iditarod/2009/story/726933.html) The conditions this year highlight how wild and remote Alaska is and how tough these dogs and mushers are.
I’m in Fairbanks this week and part of next. While here I plan to check out the World Ice Art Championships, the Open North American Championship (sprint races) and the Museum of the North up on the University campus, so look for articles on those in the upcoming month.
Spring is upon us!
Here's the latest article from the Alaska site at BellaOnline.com.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline
The Trans-Alaska pipeline is an engineering feat that is an integral part of Alaska. Many Alaskans came here originally to work on pipeline construction in the early 1970s and stayed to make Alaska their home. The pipeline is an integral part of the state’s history, economy, and identity.
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Kimi Ross, Alaska Editor
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