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, August 9, 2014

Another Good Day in Alaska

We are having fantastic weather which is really making my trip a pleasure. And it looks like it will hold into next week! Whee. I stayed busy today and got some good contacts and info. I started of by visiting the Fairbanks Visitor Information Center which is also a very nice museum. I complimented them in their guest book for fine dioramas on Alaskan life, especially the historical and Native peoples parts. And they  had a special art display--my favorite was an absolutely awesome quilt of mountains and a stream done by a lady from Colorado. OMG, that was just gorgeous. Probably cost $10,000 but I would love to take it home! Definitely recommend this center to any of my readers who are ever here! The Pioneer Park (yesterday) is fun  too but more of a playground and midway than anything else. I continue to be wowed by all the flowers. I guess it makes up for the long dark and cold to have these through the summer.I think many dry them like Mary Shields; she makes lovely wreaths and displays.

On my way over there I noticed the Yukon Quest headquarters and that was my next stop. The Yukon Quest is the "other" thousand mile race and many of the mushers agree it is tougher than the Iditarod. It is newer and kind of the red headed step kid as far as public awareness and interest goes which is too bad. It is run in February--darker and colder --and goes from Fairbanks to White Horse, Yukon Territory in Canada. It starts in the former on even years and the latter on odd years. I don't know if the mushers and dogs have to have passports or not! It also crosses four mountain ranges at higher elevations and has fewer checkpoints. So it is a real bearcat! I got a video about it and chatted with the lady in the gift shop--they seem to be lower key in all aspects-- but she said there was volunteer info on the web site so you can bet I will be checking it out.Many of my lady mushers have run both and Aliy won it in 2000, I believe. I'll have to check that. Her husband has won several times including this year.

Then last night I found the website of another of the younger women who gives Fairbanks as her home base.I  left her a message thru Facebook and this morning she phoned me!  I was invited out to her kennel which she runs with her male partner who does not race, I don't think but supports her efforts wholeheartedly. A marine biologist by trade and education, she works that in the summer but was home for the weekend. We had a lovely chat and I told her about my project--she was quite enthused--and I met her dogs or some of them. Like with Martin Buser a good part of their kennel is off doing tourist stuff with some handlers to help earn their keep. but I met some retired and 'pet' dogs including one young female who was accidentally bred and will be whelping a single pup any day now. Ultra sound confirmed that; she is just a long yearling and really too young to have a litter so they are watching her closely. A singleton pup may be large and hard for the birthing,.

The gal's name is Paige Drobny and I suspect she will be getting better time in the future and making a name for herself. She loves animals and we enjoyed a chat about dogs and horses and such. Yes, I did take pictures along the way today. Still have to download them so I may not get them added to this post but I'll try.

I am asking most of the people not why the dogs run but why they run. Although they word it differently and the story does vary some there are common themes.P
aige and Cody got together and each had an adopted rescued Husky. They came to Fairbanks to do grad school and decided to get a few more to do some winter camping and then Paige thought it would be  neat to run a race, just one mind you! So she did the Yukon 300--part of the same route as the big one and run almost together. When she came to the end she wanted to go on with those running the full 1K. It seems that once the bug bites you there is really no stopping, .Even with the horrid conditions of the 2014 Iditarod (Yukon Quiest had better snow) most are already signed up for the 2015 race. So call it an addiction, a compulsion or at least a passion; it takes over your life. And it's the dogs... Most are in it for/with the dogs.

An interesting note, many of the people raising sled dogs are frankly not going 100% "Husky" at all and you can see it in the dogs. Paige admits hers are "mutts" and she has gotten dogs from several of the old trad kennels to build her pack. She said that before she died, the late and great Susan Butcher was even adding some Blue Heeler blood into her bunch and sprint racers who run the very short and fast ones are experimenting with everything from greyhounds to German Shorthair pointers!. Dog sledding ain't what it used to be or as the Marines say, it wasn't like this in the Old Corps!

The photos are First Family statue of a couple and heir child and two dogs--mama and baby are in back-- I should go back and  get all sides-- and then Paige and one of her dogs and last the quilt I mentioned. It has a zillion strips to get the effects.

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