Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Dogs On The Run

So, The Mrs., The Boy and I were out returning extra home improvement parts at Home Despot and Lowes, and we got in the car. We stopped first at the transfer station to drop off our trash. I have to comment about that - while I think it might be possible for you to pay someone to come and get your trash, the Borough (they don't have a county system here) has set up very convenient places with lots of dumpsters where you just go and drop your trash off. Very nice. You get rid of it when you want, and it's all in the property taxes anyway. We drop off ours on our way into town, and there's no extra time required. They even have covered areas where you can leave things that still work but that you don't want.

Where was I? Oh, that has nothing to do with the picture above. Well, in our vehicle we have a handy device, one that allows us to listen to audio signals that originate from a location remote to us - in real time. It's called a radio. Very nice - you should check out this promising new technology if you have a chance - they even have a techie abbreviated name for the one we were using - AM.

We turned on this 'radio' and were surprised not to hear the talk show that's usually on at that time, but a team of reporters covering a sled dog race in real time. The race course was through the town of Fairbanks - not in some remote forest. We still don't know all of our way around the place, but one of the checkpoints was at the intersection of the roads that we knew. It was described as a golf course, but every time we drove by, it was just another snow-covered field. As we drove by this time, there were about 20 cars parked there, and we stopped. Sure enough, still a snow-covered field, but this time I noticed a snow-covered sign that said "Golf Course."

The Boy and I got out of the car, and went to the top of a snow hill. We waited about a minute, and, boom, here comes a gentleman riding a sled while a bunch of dogs pull him along. The Boy was excited. He enjoyed it very much. Of course, my digital camera wasn't ready, so I took a picture of some lovely trees. These same trees are visible in the picture posted above (click on it for a larger size) but this picture has the virtue of having an actual musher and some actual dogs in it.

Mushing is a big sport up here - lots of people participate in it. We have a dog. One dog. These folks sometimes have 22. Dang. I complain about how much it costs to feed our dog - but 22?? Anyway, talking with some people associated with the sport, they are passionate. One fried is related to a guy who just finished in the Ididarod (officially 1049 miles, in reality sometimes a couple hundred longer than that - why would you understate that?), in the top 10. He talks about how much the dogs really love to mush. They were bred to do it, and, the dogs I saw when looking at the race sure looked happy - they were loving the run. They looked happier than the joggers I saw when I was driving to our next destination after taking this picture (although The Mrs. says that most joggers look just like those fleeing the law). Our dog is a husky-cocker spaniel mix. The husky part is often used for mushing, I can see it in our dog, which is a real snow loving dog. He complains at about -50 that his paws get cold after about 10 minutes, but that's about it.

Dog mushing is the NASCAR of the north. There are magazines devoted to it. As I mentioned, they took normal programming off of the radio just to comment on it. They closed down streets in town for this race. Every Saturday, the mushers are out when there is enough snow. Now, there was no noise as the mushers went by while The Boy and I watched, and they were spread out by minutes on the groomed trail. I doubt that the sled would catch fire and crush the musher if it rubbed up against the snow bank next to the trail, but the folks watching were very excited.


Blogger Quackin' Mad Duck said...

Your pictures are AWESOME! My wife and I were THIS CLOSE to moving to Fairbanks a couple years ago (we had pharmacy jobs lined up for us at Fred Meyer). Still considering it. I love the area -- and the people. There's no place like it on earth.

Ha! "Home Despot"! I've only met one other person besides myself that refers to them as such. And Fairbanks has a Lowe's, too? Last time I was there, they were just finished building the "Despot".

One dog?? You've got to go get yourself a team! We were going to try training a team of cats.

Great blog! I've been living viscerly through your experiences there!

5:18 AM  

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