Wow! What a morning! It started pretty warm (27 degrees) and snowy and warmer and snowier it got. The Ceremonial Start on 4th Ave. is a very festive affair and everyone is out in their best Alaskan attire, everything from the matched, latest tech suit to furs and wolf head hats. The excitement is contagious and I certainly caught it.
Probably the best part was that I got to be an Iditarider with Wade Marrs who took Wattie McDonald’s spot as Wattie had to return to Scotland due to family illness. Wade proved to be an interesting and informative host. He is 21 years old and has already completed one Iditarod in 2009.
In honor of Wattie, Wade flew the Scottish flag and wore kilts. In fact, he felt is was so warm he did it with bare legs, for which I think he was sorry about half way there, but the crowd loved him. The flag proved to be interesting too as it was a little tall for the tunnels and thumped along the roof of them making an odd sound that made the dogs look back with big questioning eyes, but they never missed a beat.
Wade was informative too. He taught me about pacers and chargers. He pointed out his wheel dog, Spot and described him as a pacer. He is always steady. keeping a consistent pace. He says when that is what I want I put him in lead. Then he pointed out Winter, one of the lead dogs. She is a charger. She is always in a hurry to see what is ahead on the trail, so will increase the pace any time he needs it and that is when he will put her in the lead.
So I didn’t just have a marvelous time, I learned something too, while enjoying the snow and finding my gear to be every bit as warm as they said it would be.
Well, I could get called to jump on a plane at anytime considering the volatility of the weather so I will send this off to you and finish packing.
Till a little further down the trail.