Another K300 Start

Andrea puts jackets ont the dogs as they are harnessed.

Tom got the snow go started. It was a close call

We are hosting Dallas Seavey for this year’s K300 Race. We have plenty of room at the house and its a lot of fun to learn more about the sport by hosting a musher.

It’s been cold and windy all week. Everyone was hoping for snow, warmer weather and a lighter breeze. -37 windchill (-12 with 30 mph winds) made it a cold start. My strategy was to keep busy helping with the dogs. Tom and Dallas put a tow line on the snow go to hold the dogs back.  The trail was so icy that Dallas asked us to ride on the snow go behind him for the first 6 miles.  He told Tom to watch the GPS and try to maintain the team at a steady 10 miles per hour. This would help keep them from getting to crazy and burning out on a fast, icy trail.

The wind was blowing the sled around and the dogs were not happy with the ice. But the trail got a little better  a mile out. My gear kept me pretty warm , except my toes were cold from standing around on the ice before the start. Tom had a hard time with his hands on the ropes, the wind was brutal on any exposed flesh.  We were both glad to turn back to Bethel. We entered our house with a new appreciation for both mushers and dogs who still have many more miles to go.

Xmas at Wisco Road


Originally uploaded by Andrea Pokrzywinski

Tom, Nolan and I traveled back to Wisco road for the winter holidays. We enjoyed sleeping in the deep woods. There were several snow storms that allowed us to enjoy our trails on snow shoes. We(Tom) also got to start up the snow blower and move a lot of fluff. Oddly enough we haven’t had enough snow in Bethel to do either. ?

It was great to see friends and family. But tough to miss those we couldn’t see.

A Final Goodbye


Originally uploaded by Andrea Pokrzywinski

My grandparents were a big part of my life. I can remember flying to visit them all by my self at the age of five. There was hardly a summer I didn’t spend a large amount of time with them. My grandmother was infinitely patient with me throughout my life. She taught me to play scrabble, draw, swim and cook. They both supportively listened to my eccentric adventures as I grew up. One of my fondest memories is how everyday my grandfather would come home from work with a small present for my brother and I and my grandmother would always tell him to stop or he would spoil us, but he never stopped.

My grandmother passed away several years ago at the age of 86. On one of my visits with my grandfather after she passed away, he took me to a room and showed me the box that contained her ashes. He told me he wanted to save them and have them spread with his when he passed on. My grandfather went on to enjoy another 6 years of life. He passed away in 2007.

My grandparents didn’t want a service and they were very existential people, so it took my brother and I a fair amount of time to reflect on their passing and to organize a time and a place to spread their ashes. We chose the winter solstice as a time and Fort Snelling State Park in St Paul, MN as the place. We walked down the trails along the Minnesota River and spread their ashes on a backwater slough. The family liked the idea of their ashes mixing among the spring flood waters, and washing down the Mississippi River towards the Gulf a Mexico which was a place that they enjoyed living on for 32 years. The park is also a place that is easy for me to visit in my travels back and forth from Alaska.

After spreading their ashes, we celebrated their lives by going to a delicatessen in St. Paul. This was a favorite ritual for a couple that grew up in New York City and met when they where both 10 years old. My grandmother was fond of pickled tongue, but they didn’t have it on the menu, so I ordered a rueben.

To put closure to the ritual my brother and I each saved a small mixed bag of ashes from both grandparents to spread separately with each of our families. I chose to spread the remaining ashes along the our trail at Wisco Road property in the Chequamagon National Forest. Now their DNA can flow down the Lake Superior watershed as well.

Juliet Stern Ross 1913-1999
Robert Benson Ross 1913-2007