The snow man test
There are a surprising number of restaurants that deliver take out in Bethel. This Friday we ordered from one of Bethel’s finest. The Menu declares itself, “The Alternative to Fine Dining……” . Part of this alternative includes some unique delivery items included on the menu above. No Joke!
Nolan is ready to run the iditarod :-) Well maybe next year with a little more conditioning. But he’s got the harness and booties. Thanks to the Seavey team for giving Nolan his first pair of booties. He does get big snow balls when we ski-jour, I have been clipping his fur. I learned that you can also singe the hairs on dog paws to prevent snow balls. But you have to be careful not to light the dog on fire, I prefer the idea of booties.
Here is my latest acquisition for warmth. A pair of seal fur mittens with mink and wolverine trim. I bought these from a crafter who flew in from Goodnews Bay to sell in Bethel. Almost every day we get an “all call” to tell us someone is in the foyer selling art or other goods. This is the closet thing we have to a mall.
The weather has turned cold again. So I am happy to have my new boots and mittens ready. Now all we need is a little more snow!
Originally uploaded by Andrea Pokrzywinski
It was a sloppy race and Mitch and the dogs trudged through up to three feet of water on top of the ice on the Kuskokwim and Gweek rivers. Some of the mushers got in over their heads. Luckily no one was seriously injured. It was quite a test for the teams and Mitch’s dogs pulled through for a first place finish.
The weather was challenging. We had 30-40 degrees with 40 mph winds. A lot of the dogs that were dropped were stranded in the village until today when planes could fly again. 2 mushers decided to wait out the thaw and are still running the race. The holed up in Kalskag until the water froze. They should be on the trail now.
It’s been a great experience to host a musher. We have learned a lot about the sport and strategy of mushing. And it was a special treat to host the first place winner and his handler Jake. They were our first overnight guests in Bethel. Tom got to use his snowmobile to hold the sled in place at the starting line. Can you pick him out in the picture?
It will be fun to follow this crowd on the Iditarod trail in a few weeks.
Originally uploaded by Andrea Pokrzywinski
Derby joins the choir of excited dogs. This is Mitch Seavy’s team and they are in the lead. It’s a tough course this weekend. We were on the finish line 2:00 AM. The Akiachak dash mushers finished late slogging through 2 feet of water on the ice.
It warmed up to above zero Monday. The first time in 3 weeks. Just in time for race preparations. The volunteers who mark the trail from Bethel to Aniak had to cancel work on Saturday when temps dipped to -20 and 30 below again. We had -36 Sunday Morning. But folks took vacation days on Tuesday and got the job done.
We have been busy too. Loaning our winter gear, cooking for check points and hosting a musher. Mitch Seavy, his handler, and 15 dogs are staying at our house. Tom picked Mitch and the crew up at the airport yesterday. It was fun to hear mushing stories through dinner. Mitch won the K300 in 2005, but his goal is prepping for the Iditarod. He is one of the top mushers in the state. He also knows Gary Paulsen, which is fun because I have read a lot of Gary’s books including Winterdance (A hilarious tale of a novice running the Iditarod).
Stay Tuned for more K300 notes.
We haven’t seen above zero temperatures since Xmas Eve. Maybe a brief interlude at 2 or 3. And we aren’t even discussing wind chill at this point. So what do you do when it’s this cold?
Tom and Andrea’s Top 10 things to do at -17 degrees and below
10. Check your blackfish trap (Tom)
9. Stay in you P.J.’s till noon (Andrea)
8. Watch your latest netflix shipment
7. Play hide and seek with the dogs inside
6. Go to work (comp some time to take in the daylight)
5. Shop online for better below zero gear (-140 boots in the mail)
4. Ski-jour across the tundra ( 1 hour max)
3. Go to a Fiddle Dance
2. Learn how to two step before the next fiddle dance
1. Make an appointment to put a block heater in the truck
Refuge Officer and pilot Isaac Bedingfield and I went up to the Yukon River checking for illegal moose harvest in a moratorium area. Isaac is a great bush pilot and one the refuge’s younger talents. This is a where’s Waldo picture. Can you find the moose? We saw a bunch of moose, and it was my first venture into the Yukon watershed part of the refuge. It was a blue bird day and we could see all the mountains that the surround the Delta. We landed on a frozen lake for a bladder break in the C-185. The break was quick at 10 below on a January day.