The youngest musher in the 2016 Iditarod made it to Nome late into the night, with friends, family, and fellow mushers there to cheer him on. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know 19 year old Noah Pereira this year as the 2016 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™, and I could not have been more impressed with this young man and his kindness and integrity.
Noah’s young team needed a little coaxing to make it under the arch from the street, but he had veteran fellow mushers and friends on hand, Wade Marrs and Travis Beals, to help him.
So many of us waiting for Noah were talking about what a wonderful attitude Noah has and how much we care about him as a person. Even though he came in very late at night, I was so impressed with the number of people that came out to cheer him on.
Noah came in with a big smile and hugged his family and friends. He took the time to say hello to me, too! Noah helped create a wonderful post for me about the Jr. Iditarod earlier in the year. He was the first non-Alaskan to win the Jr. Iditarod, and he was actively involved this year in that race’s start, helping get teams to the start line.
He filmed himself reading the book Painter and Ugly about the race, and helped a group of 1st graders talk about friendship. My students signed the book and sent it to him as a show of support. The post was lovely! Click below to check it out:
In the Nikolai checkpoint, I remember catching up with Noah as he was resting next to Alan Eischens. The two had become great friends and were in great spirits. That is where Noah showed me how he eats on the trail. Mushers freeze-dry their food in sealed bags, melt snow in their cookers, and heat up their bags. Noah had biscuits and gravy for breakfast and we giggled as he cut open the top and squeezed it out to eat it. No need for utensils to clean!
Noah’s father was on hand to show his support, and his mother, Betsy, was in Brockport, New York watching. Betsy reached out to me and said, “I’m so proud of Noah for completing the race and for taking such good care of his dogs along the way. I was very relieved to hear him sounding so happy when he reached the finish line.” I can’t imagine how thrilled they both were for him. It was my pleasure to share Noah’s story with the world.
We all had a great time celebrating Noah’s triumph in Nome. As I walked back my volunteer quarters, I saw the northern lights faintly glowing in the sky, and I thought it was a perfect gift for such a gracious and passionate musher!