I've been keeping journals since I was in the 3rd grade and I'm so glad to share some of my most intimate life moments with you here! Here, you'll find inspirational stories of clients, my journey as a wife and first-time mother and other adventures I have that makes my world go 'round. So please, sit back, grab some coffee ( or my personal favorite, a good ol' fashioned Arnold Palmer!) and enjoy exploring my latest work! Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!
After experiencing all the magic of Fur Rondy and Iditarod this past week and weekend, I can honestly say it’s something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime!!
When most people think about visiting Alaska in the winter, their entire body begins to shiver and as a Southern girl, I totally get it. When I was packing for my first trip here, I checked my Weather Channel app and I kid you not, as soon as I saw “0 degrees,” I immediately got goosebumps and almost on cue, my teeth begin to chatter. But when I got here, I fell in love. Experiencing Alaska in the winter allows you to see things you won’t get to see in the summer such as the Iditarod race!
Though the actual start of the race is in Willow, AK, which is about two hours north of Anchorage, they have a ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage complete with a lot of different events, including one I will never forget. That’s right…Spain may have the running of the bulls, but here in Alaska, we have the running of the reindeer!!
They may not be as wild as a bull, but when they take off, they are gone! It was so incredibly fun to experience!!
After the downtown events, I headed to Willow yesterday to capture the official start of the Iditarod race and it was beyond amazing! I honestly had no idea how big this race was until I got out there! This is the world’s most famous sled dog race! There are 85 teams total, representing five different countries, all racing across Alaska in the nearly 1,000 -mile race to be named champion! And did I mention that there are seven former champions in the race as well!??! Y’all…this is INTENSE!
While out in Willow, I learned quite a bit about Iditarod and because I’m a sucker for stories, I especially love that Iditarod has an amazing one and even a movie connection! It began as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps and beyond to the west coast communities of Unalakleet, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain and Nome. Mail and supplies went in and gold came out. All by dog sled. The race commemorates the most famous event in the history of Alaskan mushing, which is the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the “Great Race of Mercy.” A diphtheria epidemic threatened Nome, especially the Alaska Native children who had no immunity to the “white man’s disease”, and the nearest quantity of antitoxin was found to be in Anchorage. The only two available planes had never been flown in the winter, and the only way the medicine could be delivered was by dog sleds!
And if you’re around my age, do you remember the movie Balto? Well it’s loosely based on this story! The Norwegian Gunnar Kaasen and his lead dog Balto arrived on Front Street in Nome on February 2 at 5:30 a.m., just five and a half days later with the serum in tow. Throughout the years, the sled dogs were important to day to day life in the villages and throughout Alaska. So much that the Iditarod Trail is now even a national historical trail!
It was so amazing to see how excited these dogs were! As soon as the countdown started, they started jumping up and down, barking with excitmement and as soon as they heard the word “go,” they took off! These furry little athletes are so much fun to watch! You could definitely feel the excitement in the air. The path was lined with so many people cheering the mushers, or driver of the doglseds, and the dogs, on.
Alaska has easily become one of my all-time favorite places to live. There is so much culture, history and beauty here! I love the summers here, but the winters are a magical time to experience too! Seeing the start of Iditarod is definitely a memory I’ll never forget and one that I encourage everyone to come here and make for themselves!
I mean seriously…look at that face! How could you not love these little guys?!?