Stepping behind the door marked “Employees Only” at Iditarod Headquarters is when it really hit me.
This dream of mine is coming true… I really am the 2014 ExxonMobil Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™!
My summer adventure began about a week ago when I flew over 3,980 miles from Baltimore to Salt Lake City to Seattle to Anchorage. I have visited Anchorage for the last two race starts, but this is the first time I’ve been here in the summer…. And boy is it different! I didn’t realize there were things under all of mounds of snow! The other thing that strikes me is how uncrowded it seems. I fully expected it to be jam packed with people since it is summer tourist season, but compared to Iditarod time, it is a breeze!
I’ve had a chance to do some fun things while I’ve waited to be “put to work.” In Anchorage I visited the zoo and got to see all the bears, moose, musk oxen and other Alaskan animals. My favorites were the little river otters who were playing by balancing rocks on their noses! The Anchorage Museum is a favorite of mine to visit. I especially love the Smithsonian display on the native cultures. I caught a couple of the films around town – the Earthquake Experience and the two films at Bear Square (one on bears and one on the Iditarod). My favorite was the Aurora film. One of my bucket list items I am really hoping to cross off my list while out on the trail is seeing the Aurora! I took a day trip to Crow Creek Mine and learned the art of gold panning. I did manage to find five small flakes – not enough to quit my job unfortunately! I also took a day trip on the train to Spencer Glacier and went for a really fantastic hike. Spencer Glacier is only accessible by train, so if you ever get the chance to do it… you should check it out! All of these wonderful adventures will find themselves written into lesson plans that I am anxious to share with you as we get started with a new school year.
The past few days have been filled with camp business during the days and really amazing drives in the evening. Working at Iditarod Headquarters yesterday was pretty surreal.
The best part? I got to take breaks to hold a sleeping puppy and go for a cart ride with Raymie Redington.
Only in Alaska.