Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gotta have passion!


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Just  received a few notes from owner about The 2010 Iditarod which is running now in  Anchorage, Alaska.   It was cold up there but they had a fabulous time.  Apparently Alaskans are warm. I rested down at Wash-n-Watch dogs and it was just the ticket.  I had been hoping for a taste of spring and a professional  haircut. I got it. 


OK…let’s blow this popstand boys and girls…I’m outta here!



Uh….hang on a sec…..got a little carried away.



There were Americans, Canadians, two Scotsmen, a Belgian, and a Jamaican all at the starting line for The 2010 Iditarod in Anchorage, Alaska.  A Jamaican you say….yes, and he got a huge cheer from the crowd.  He apparently came to Alaska to work as a guide, fell in love with the dogs he  met during his time in the State, and then was taken under the wing of Lance Mackey (whom owner has known about for all of three days now!) Lance is the much-loved several-time winner of The Iditarod, who even entered the competition in 2001 with a diagnosis of throat cancer.  He competed with a feeding tube connected until he had to withdraw to rest. He’s still here and still competing. You can see why he is much loved.

  So a guy from Jamaica, mon…..is now out in the wilds of Alaska with his dogs, his sled, his requisite snow shoes and axe and hopefully is enjoying Alaska’s wild winter paradise. Some are calling his attempt…Cooler Runnings.   Here’s a teensy video commemorating Newton Marshall (St. Anne, Jamaica) and his rookie start at The Last Great Race on Earth – marathon of marathons.


A Scotsman’s dogs need tartan coats, lassie!



Ceremonial starts call for a kilt and a flag!


It will help to  think of The Iditarod this way…..1,049 miles (1,688 km.)  standing on the back of a light sled (basically Houston, TX to Telluride, CO STANDING UP) and mushing along with one leg often pumping as you go, perhaps ski poling along as well, or doing both together   to help the 12  or more dogs pull their heavy load.  The weather can be a blinding whiteout from blowing snow or heavily falling snow, or a ground blizzard obliterating your trail, a –40F (-40C) or worse temperature, OR you can have (as competitors will this year) a long stretch of about ten miles where there is NO SNOW…but you still have to get those dogs and sleds and your  gear over this terrain?  How fun is that to consider?!  Want to sign up next year? AND don’t forget, you pay to do this. You pay a lot because not only do you have an entry fee you also have gear to buy, vet bills to pay,  and the list goes on.  This is a love affair between man and dog and what they can accomplish together with strong hearts, strong wills, and a love of nature at its most wild. 

Tourists attend this event from all over the world.  Owner and curly haired met some Australians who were bundled up against the cold and having the time of their life. I’d love to go and see my fellow canines at the top of their game…but dogs aren’t allowed close to the starting area. I guess those huskies might eat us or something.  Of course, as always, people blithely ignored that rule even when told by cops to get their dogs the heck out of the area. Rules are for other people, what can I say?



Can you spot the Canadians in the crowd?

(Hey,  that isn’t curly haired….who is that guy?)

Dog poop has definitely been discussed in this blog before, the necessity of cleaning it up, how hilarious it is that humans are the ones picking it up and so on.  I have to wade into the dog poop issue again. Wade is a bad choice of word.  Can you imagine upwards of 1,200 dogs in one location, all mushing down the same stretch of road over the course of several hours?  Owner and curly haired didn’t see one tiny bit of dog poop anywhere. They couldn’t believe it and had to ask owner’s cousin, Sue (musher)….hey, do these dogs take a pill or something to prevent nature from taking place.  No, she replied…they are professional racers and they know the rules. OK….the rules….but everybody breaks a rule sometime, right?  Not these guys.  No one was even on duty to shovel up “you know what”.  The only shovellers were continually shoveling snow on to the course downtown to make sure each  team had enough snow to mush the distance!  Incroyable!  Increyible!  Un-fricking-believable…..amazing dogs and their retention skills!!!

Here’s a little video of the teams gearing up before their start time.  They are calmly leashing up the dogs and the dogs are “uncalmly” telling everyone to hurry the heck up….they want to run.  These dogs know what’s coming and they are wildly excited to get going.  Once they take off – they shut right up. 


Let’s freak them out with our synchronised move! How do you like us now?



Knock yourselves out. Think I’m worried?


 After attending a great chat given by  Aliy Zirkle and her husband, Alan Moore, who both compete in The Iditarod, owner and curly-haired are  ardently following their respective racP1050631es.  Nothing like knowing how these folks melt their water (high tech)  and then drink it through some toilet tubing out of a small  bucket…..makes you want to be an  P1050639Iditaroder right? These people thrive on being out on their own in the wild where they are dependent upon themselves and the relationship they earned with their dogs. Owner will never know what it is like to lie watching the Northern Lights while in a sleeping bag at –20F (-28C)  or colder in the clothes she has worn for eight or ten or twelve days.  Curly-haired will never curl up on some straw and have only the warmth of his dogs around him…..I would do it but I’m only one dog and he’s a regular-sized human.  He might not make it through the night; however, he will never ask me to make that ultimate sacrifice.

Now this is a HAT to beat all HATS!


The runner-up but he didn’t know owner was holding a contest!


And so off I go to dream about snow, and blizzards, and –40, and pulling my owners to victory.  Adulation….dreams of adulation.  My sleep should be pleasant. WhenI awake owner and curly haired will be home.


The Crowd


Running Dogs



If you’ve got it….flaunt it (tail that is)



If I look crazed and bark, can we go?


Oh come on….a little head humping gets me in the mood.


Up close and personal with a couple of sleds


And they’re off!


Become a fan of Telluride Dog Blog on Facebook.  More photos and more updates….as the mood moves me! Casey here saying See ya later.

Feel like going dog sledding now….call Chantal Wood at Wintermoon Dog Sledding 970-729-0058 –before the snow is all gone! Tell her you heard about her through Telluride Dog Blog. She knows me!

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