Saturday, March 14, 2009

More Iditarod facts....

Iditarod, what does it mean? This word comes from many different Alaskan Native Languages but they all have similar meanings that have to do with water and distant travel. Many of the names pertaining to the Iditarod River itself, which is a branch of the Kuskokwim River, the second largest river in Alaska and a mode of transportation from village to village. Looking at the map it appears in this day and age, if one is good at mazes, any river in the interior of the state connects somehow.

So lets visit the town of Iditarod...many claim this is now a ghost town, history says other wise…It appears that the town of Iditarod was once a booming town where many congregated to trade their furs and bank their gold. Motels and Cafes allowed a reprieve from dried meet and hard tack while the miners and trappers where in town. Entertainment could be found in the brothels and bars, and supplies could be purchased from one of several mercantile.

Nestled into the banks of the Iditarod River this was a gate way to the rest of the world via steam ship. Convenience like electricity and telephones allowed contact with the world out side of the isolated interior of Alaska.

A settlement that was well established, established that is until Christmas of 1908, when a gold strike three hundred miles south on Otter Creek diverted the attention from the North to the unexplored mountains and tundras further south. In a mere few months the town of Iditarod was gone, the only remaining signs of the town are a cabin and a partial cement bank vault.

The town was lifted, put on boats and moved south to the new boom town of Flat. What of Flats future…well Flat is the one of just a handful of towns in the US Census that contains just four people. Never officially a town, it sits on a mining camp and is considered an illegal town site. Until 2000 a US post office was one of the only remaining buildings in the town of four.

So the next check point on the Iditarod trail for Lance is Kaltag...an interesting fact of Kaltag...Kaltag is the home of Virginia Kalland, widow of Edgar Kalland, one of the mushers that attempted to get the diphtheria serum up the Iditarod trail to Nome back in 1925.

Comments on "More Iditarod facts...."

 

Blogger Shana said ... (11:13 PM) : 

As Mitch Seavey takes the second place on the race up the Yukon I did a bit more research...interesting enough Mitch Seaveys father raced in 1973 against Dick Mackey, and Rick Swenson....another long time name of the Iditarod...with boys racing in the Jr. Iditarod we will soon see another generation of Seaveys in the race too.

 

Blogger Stan said ... (10:33 AM) : 

At least when you live in a town of four, you do not have to wait in line at the post office. Something to be said about life in rural Alaska. Getting closer to Nome with each passing hour, tension building, everyone is tired, doing everything to get just a faction of am advantage, looking over your shoulder, gps units running on high, cell phones ringing keeping you awake, thinking to themselves, if I could just stop, make a pot of coffee and take a 12 hour nap, dogs getting tired, only the lead dog has a full view, other dogs getting tired of looking at the same butts. Stress level is on high ~ need a cup of coffee and a shot! Question often asked to one self, "Why am I doing this?" How many miles to the next check point". Thoughts to occupy the mind, "how wonderful my bed back home would feel right now", "am I going to ever do this again" "how can I win this race" and "I wonder what the other racers are thinking"

 

Blogger Stan said ... (10:15 AM) : 

10:12 AM 3/15: Currently, it looks to like a minimum of a 4.5 hour lead for Mackey over King, wonder how long King will stay in town as the clock is running. Their last comparable time shows that Mackey is still slightly faster than King with both teams running 15 dogs. Looks to be a three way race at this point with the advantage still going to Mackey.

 

Blogger Stan said ... (10:17 AM) : 

I will need to revise my data, perhaps the wind while crossing the ice had a positive affect. My original posting indicated that Mackey would may his run down Front Street 3 hours and 14 minut6es ahead of second place, when in fact it turned out to be 7 hours and 27 minutes. He ran a great race and his dogs look as good coming into Nome as they did leaving Anchorage.

 

Blogger Shana said ... (6:32 PM) : 

lol...yah but you also wagered on king....what happened to him??

 

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