Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

They are off and running!

I've got to take one day off here from Celtic stuff and delve into another passion of mine, dog sledding, mushing--what a marvelous sport! The ceremonial start of the Iditarod took place today between Anchorage and Willow, Alaska. The real start is tomorrow but this is the fun and show part. All the entrants and their teams are on display, every one with a 'rider'--a guest who bids on and wins for the privilege of taking a few miles' ride on the competitor's sled and some on a second sled hitched on behind. Yes, it is an unlikely dream for me but I'd love to be there for real. I'd be miserable cold but still love every second of it!

I did watch part of the events in a live broadcast at .www.iditarod.com and they will be re-broadcasting it all later plus you can order a video for each year's race. Well, not back to the first one in 1973 but quiet a few since video cams have been available. So this is the forty-first running. I'm not sure if you can view it without being a member, which I am, though not at the highest level. I do what I can to support this race. There are corporate sponsors etc but it still takes lots and lots of money to keep it going. Anyway take a peek at the site if you wish!

Here's a picture I grabbed recently and I think it says it all! A marathon is twenty-five miles. The Iditarod is in the ballpark of 1000 miles--can you even imagine 40 marathons back to back to back? And in bitter cold, ice, snow, fog, and over some rugged terrain?? Of course the dogs are the super athletes but those mushers have got to exceed Ironman/Ironwoman triathalon performzane as well. I admire them with all my heart!

I especially consider the women who tackle this as heroines. I'm really rooting for Aliy Zirkle this time. She came in a very strong second last year behind a young man who is a third generation competitor! There are quite a few rookies this year too. I did get the official program and a quick count shows around seventy registered competitors. Any aficionado will recognize a number of names but there are contestants from Russia, Scandinavia and a number of US states although of course the bulk are from Alaska. You almost have to train there and acclimate the dogs to the climate and terrain. At any rate I wish godspeed and a safe run to each and all.

I have to say for anyone who thinks these dogs are abused or maltreated, you could not be more wrong. They get better care than a lot of people's children. They are all in booties to protect their feet--the same kind I had on Miss Belle for a time--and get plenty of rich food for energy; they are checked by veterinarians at a dozen or more points on the trial and above all, when you watch them you can see they purely love to run! Even in pictures far out in the wilderness without the excited crowds etc. you can see them going, eager and full out unless the musher pulls them down for safety in extra bad spots. They are born and bred to do this and it is definitely in their blood. I like the fact there are no formal bets and it isn't really a pro sport-- it is done mostly for the sheer love of it and the thrill of 'the last great race.' Out there in the wilderness the musher's life depends on his or her team and the dogs depend on their musher. It is a wonderful symbiotic pairing that touches me to observe. Brightest blessings upon them as they run the next 10-12 days!

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