On the Road to the Junior Iditarod

So far my trip to Alaska has been one big road trip to get ready for the Junior Iditarod.

The weather has also taken its toll on the Junior Race, forcing it to move further north to the Denali area and to move a day later than originally scheduled.

So I have been steadily moving north too… from Anchorage to Palmer to Wasilla and now finally to Cantwell.

Last night the junior mushers met at Iditarod Headquarters for the musher meeting and starting order draw.  The 2015 Junior Mushers in starting order are:2015-02-27 18.16.51

#1 Honorary Musher Jayne Hempstead – a long time veterinarian with the Junior Iditarod who was also instrumental in helping prepare the race for the move north.

#2 Dakota Sclosser – 16 years old from Willow – a rookie

#3 Kevin Harper – 16 years old from Wasilla – Kevin came in third last year and won the Sportsmanship Award.

#4 Jordan Seager – 14 years old from Willow  – a rookie

#5 Andrew Nolan – 15 years old from Wasilla – Andrew came in fifth last year.

#6 Katie Deits – 14 years old from Anchorage – a rookie

#7 Nicole Forto – 17 years old from Willow – last year’s red lantern winner

#8 Marianna Mallory – 17 years old from Chugiak – a rookie

#9 Rose Capistrant – 15 years old from Healy – a rookie

#10 Joan Klejka – from Bethel – a rookie

#11 Janelle Trowbridge – 17 years old from Nome – Janelle finished sixth last year

#12 Jimmy Lanier – 16 years old from Chugiak – Jimmy placed fourth last year

The junior mushers were given lots of information about what to expect on the new trail:  it’s a highway so it’s hard to get lost, it’s hilly so be prepared to pedal or ski pole, there are airplanes breaking the sound barrier that may spook your dogs.

Yes… we have all heard the stories about moose spooking dogs on the trail, but apparently you now have to worry about planes breaking the sound barrier and spooking your dogs!

Today we journeyed about 181 miles north from Wasilla to Cantwell.

Here’s what it looked like today in Wasilla at the Iditarod Headquarters:

2015-02-27 14.35.47

Here’s what it looked like along the Parks Highway:


We finally found winter!  It snowed pretty much the whole way up and the temperatures were hoveringDSC_0595 around 20 degrees.  We were treated to breathtaking scenery the whole way up and even saw a moose!

But.  Tonight. Was. Amazing.

The sentences I’ve longed to hear, “If you want to come with us the lights are out!”  What? Find the parka, find the boots, find the gloves, find the hat and get out the door.

Oh. My. Gosh.

It was amazing. They really dance in the sky.  You can really see them ripple and move.  I even laid down in the middle of the road to watch them dance overhead.  And listened to the dogs in the yard howl.

And tomorrow we are off to a dog sled race.  Oh Alaska. You. Are. Amazing.

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(Thanks to Erin Montgomery for sharing the pictures of the lights she took tonight.)

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