Iditarod Dogs!

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I had to ask myself today, “How many pictures of dogs do I really need?”  Not enough it seems.  I wanted to share a few on this post, but realized “a few” was the hard part.  The mushers we teachers have met over the past few days have all been open about sharing their dogs and their dog knowledge.

We began Tuesday at Jon & Jona VanZyle’s beautiful home and kennel.  The dogs there are always happy to see people and get an ear rub.  They are eager to meet new people and treated us all (humans) with respect.  We always love going to VanZyles where one dog demonstrated the wheel for us.  Dogs are free to jump on and off the wheel – they love to run!

On Wednesday we went to Iditarod Headquarters where many mushers were gathering for their Vet check.  Again, the mushers were generous with teachers and let us ask them questions and pet their dogs.  The Vets doing the check-ups were a calming influence as dogs politely let them poke and prod.

Teachers ended the day at Martin Buser’s Happy Trails Kennel.  Martin has an exceptional relationship with his dogs based on mutual respect.  As we stood among his almost 90 dogs, the only sound we could hear was our own voices talking to the dogs.  A barking dog is an unusual sound.  Unleashed puppies (18 months old) raced through the crowd of teachers down a trail following a snow machine.  They are already being trained for future Iditarods.

So I guess the answer to the question to myself is, I don’t think I’ll ever have enough dog pictures.

            fingerprintpupsALSO . . . an update on an earlier post.  I heard from Kathy Booth at Wesley D. Tisdale School who used the Fingerprint Dogs idea and added her own twist.  Thanks for sharing Kathy!

Hello Texas!

DSC_2031The 2013 Winter Conference for Educators is now officially underway.  Teachers and presenters are gathered here from Alaska and the Lower 48 states.  New for the conference this year is presenter Barbara Cargill who is the chair of the State Board of Education in Texas.  Barbara is committed to Science curriculum in her state, and what better way to incorporate Science but by using the Iditarod.

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Temperature in Alaska on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 2:45 PM

So Texas students, let’s do a quick weather comparison.  Right now in Anchorage, Alaska the temperature is 36  degrees.  In Nome it is -10 degrees.  Let’s get some comparisons.  What is the temperature in Texas?  What is the difference?  Please let me know at

How about other states?  A great activity is to track the weather in your town and a checkpoint during the race.  Make a graph to show your comparisons.  No matter where you are – I hope you are having good weather.

Iditarod Vet Check

The other day, while visiting Iditarod Headquarters, I had the opportunity to DSC_1671witness a vet check.  Cim Smyth was there with his dogs getting their pre-race check-up.  This included having blood drawn and getting an EKG – the dogs, not Cim.  🙂  A few of the dogs were skittish about coming into the vet trailer, but the technicians were calm and comforting and each dog settled right in.  As one dog was getting blood drawn, the other was laying on the table having an EKG.

While the technicians drew the blood, Cim sat at the head of the EKG dogs, petting them and DSC_1667keeping them reassured as other techs attached the leads needed to run an EKG.  The dogs calmly laid on the table enjoying all the pets and attention.  They were amazing during the process; I was impressed with their trust in the techs and relaxed demeanor.

This dedicated group of veteranarian technician volunteers will continue the same process for every dog in this year’s race.  66 mushers x 16 dogs = 1,056 check-ups.  They do it with smiles on their faces and a devotion to the animals they work with.  Excellent job!

And The Winner Is . . .

Congratulations Noah Pereira, the winner of the 36th running of the

Noah Pereira welcomes Conway Seavey to the finish line.

Noah Pereira welcomes Conway Seavey to the finish line.

Junior Iditarod.  It wasn’t a run-away victory – Noah and Conway Seavey shared the lead throughout the race.  Conway followed Noah into the chute 4 minutes later to take second place.

The first woman to come in and third place finisher was Jenny Greger.  She was so exciting to watch cross the finish line. Jenny’s dogs didn’t want to stop as they tugged at their harnesses and howled at her to keep moving.


All of the Junior Mushers have been fun to watch these past few days.  At the final banquet, they were all poised as they thanked family, friends, and sponsors.  Teamwork seemed to be the theme of the evening and the 2013 Junior Ididtarod Mushers achieved that.  Congratulations!

The Junior Iditarod

DSC_1806Standing on Knik Lake, I watched 13 young men and women ages 14 -17 venture out on the 150 mile Junior Iditarod.  It was exciting seeing them leave the chute, go across the lake, and disappear into the wilderness.  About 8 hours and 75 miles later, the first teams arrived at Yentna Station.  All mushers were very calm as they arrived with their 10 dogs and mandatory items.  The dogs looked happy and healthy coming into the DSC_2050checkpoint.  After checking in, the young mushers fed and bedded down dogs for their mandatory 10-hour layover.  Later in the evening, they started the traditional bonfire.DSC_2012

 Dog teams are one way to get to Yentna Station, snow machines are another, but I arrived via airplane.  Pilot Phil Morgan picked us up at Willow Airport and delivered us to the river right in front of the checkpoint.  It was a magical evening waiting for teams to come in as a gentle snow began to fall.

 Yentna Station is an Iditarod piece of history in its own right.  The cozy DSC_1967roadhouse, run by Dan and Jean, is a busy place this evening with not only Junior Iditarod volunteers and parents, but also people on snow machines stopping in for a delicious homemade meal.  Iditarod pictures, articles, posters, and other paraphernalia can be found on every wall.  I was able to get a little sleep before heading outside once again to see the mushers out.  The first musher left at 3:43 a.m. with the second one leaving 2 minutes later.  By 7:00 a.m. all mushers were back on the trail headed 75 miles back to Willow.  Good luck and safe travels to all Junior mushers today on the trail.

The 2013 Jr. Iditarod


Saturday, Feb.23, after attending the start of the 2013 Jr. Iditarod, Linda headed out to Yentna Station to observe the 2013 Jr. Iditarod.

13 Jr. Mushers are racing in this year’s Jr. Iditarod.  Learn more about the Jr. Idiarod at this link.

Linda will be sharing her observations of the race after she returns from her stay at Yentna.


Larson & Big Lake Elementary Schools

LarsonWhat a great day!  It began at Larson Elementary School.  Students and staff were warm and welcoming as I found my place in the gym to present to about 400 Kindergarten thru 5th grade students.  After my presentation, I was  given the opportunity to be a part of their Idita-Math wrap up.  Students studied math facts andDSC_1653 competed against other classes for the most time spent studying their facts.  This all culminated today as students quickly answered math facts in a relay against time and other classes.  Congratulations to all the winning classes and to the entire school for putting forth the effort.  Thanks also to Mrs. Lamont for the Alaska gift bag.  The books will be shared with my third grade students at the WLC.

Next it was on to Big Lake Elementary where I spoke to 2 groups of 200 students. DSC_1745 Students and staff were kind and courteous as I shared lessons on the Iditarod race, the Iditarod Air Force, and  preparations for my adventure on the trail.  I would also like to thank your principal, Mr. Simon, for the cap.  It will be worn with pride by a grateful teacher.