And they’re off! The Iditarod is into Day 3 of its 1130 mile race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. There are several check points along the way; I counted more than 20. According to last year’s finishing date, there are about 9 more days left. Last year’s winner came in on the 15th.
The race follows the Iditarod National Historic Trail every year, but switches which stretch of it is in the race. One year it’s the northern route. One year it’s the southern. This year is the southern route’s turn. This back and forth switching gives relief to the small towns that that take part in it. Mushers, press and volunteers have a way of taking a toll on small town Alaska. Every other year for a town is plenty.
Years ago, when the trail first opened, not for the race, but for trade and whatnot, dog sleds were used to deliver goods from coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps like Ophir and Ruby and communities like Nome. Everything from the mail to furs and gold made the trip.
The Iditarod website offers a map of the race, a comprehensive history, updated results, videos and photographs, so even if you are in the tropics somewhere you can feel connected to the excitement. Photo is courtesy of Kayak ’49 on Flickr. Check out his other shots of Alaska.