The Mushers of the Iditarod dog teams that are racing for the top places do not spend much time resting in any one place. Their ‘run-rest’ schedules are calculated from the start and they stop at strategic locations. Sometimes these rest breaks are in villages, but never for very long. So socializing with locals is often limited simply because of time constraints. John Baker, Iditarod Champion and Kotzebue resident, is very conscious of this fact. He will come into a village, be swarmed by well-wishers and fans and immediately say: “I need to tend to my dogs first then I will happily talk to you all." Some mushers have learned from John or have their own routine to interact with folks as much as they can. There are also Mushers whose less competitive race strategy gives them more rest time in village checkpoints. These Mushers often spend more time visiting with locales. All of this is very important to the Iditarod.
The reality is that Iditarod Mushers need the support of the villages. Yes… many mushers are incredibly tough and can handle challenging situations on their own - often navigating the trail with very few village stops. But as the saying goes: "You never know what's going to happen." In the past, mushers have been forced to take extended refuge in villages due to impassable storms or because their teams needed an unplanned rest. Both Aliy and Allen have spent over 24 hours in the village of Shaktoolik due to winter storms.
So, the fact is that Aliy has been welcomed by the amazing people who live along the Iditarod Trail for the last 17 years. In nearly two decades, on any given year, she has never spent more than:
- several minutes passing through the tiny town of Golovin
- a few hours in hours in Elim
- 8 (ish) hours in White Mountain
Therefore the time has come for her to say “Thanks!”
The Dogs are ready to be packed and head out West!
With the financial support of her primary sponsor Matson, and the logistical support of Golovin, Elim, and White Mountain, Aliy will visit travel to each village, visit with the communities and give school presentations from August 28th until the 30th.
For this trip, Aliy is bringing with her: husky stickers (donated by Verizon), “Iditarod” notepads, buttons and DVDs (donated by ITC), stuffed toy huskies (donated by Matson), a set of 17 Iditarod Education Programs and other Alaskana books for each village (compiled by Tricia Brown and purchased by ExxonMobil) and personalized Jeff Schultz Iditarod posters (donated by ExxonMobil.)
Aliy is also bringing with her the heartfelt ‘Thanks’ from many of her Iditarod competitors who would like to offer their tremendous gratitude for everything that the wonderful people of Golivin, Elim and White Mountain do for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
We will try to update this story often and post photos from her trip.