This day turned out fine despite being off and on rainy,more so in the morning. I planned to go to Palmer, town to the east of Wasilla and up to the Independence Mine but decided it was not a good day for that asI wanted good light for outdoor pictures. So instead I headed back out Knik Goose Bay road and stopped at the Iditarod Headquarters.
It was early and two pickup trucks were unloading some dogs with the normal pandemonium. It was the Reddingtons, father and son (son and grandson of the famous Joe Reddington who was pretty much the father of the recognition of the historical value of the trail and instrumental in the race as part of that effort.) I chatted a few minutes but they were busy. I didn't try pix as it was gray and drizzly. May go back. Young Raymie Reddington gives rides to visitors with a wheeled vehicle such as they use to train dogs in the summer. Two bus loads of tour groups arrived soon and I got out of the way. I went on over to the museum and gift shop building and began to talk with two ladies there.
Turns out Donna Olson, whose husband ran in some of the early races, now lives in Glenwood, NM just up the road a bit from Gila/Cliff where Joe Runyan lives. But is an active supporter to include working there in the summer. She is also a big mule fan!! This is amazing--mules and sled dogs as burning interests in several folks and links from New Mexico to Alaska!.She gave me the name and number of the volunteer coordinator who is up in Fairbanks right now at the state fair but will be back the middle of next week. I hope to catch her before I leave. (hee hee, my timing is way off!) I got a few souvenir and research things and saw the video they've done called Why Do They Run.
If you have any doubts about the dogs and their care or their real love for doing what they do, this will dispel them. All dogs have better nutrition available now because of studies done for the huskies and many more advances are in progress. I got teary of course. Not for the first time; I got a photo of the sign and the stature of Reddington and really had the almost eerie feeling that I was walking on sacred ground. People are so passionate about this stuff and I more and more come to understand why. I also came away from the film with more respect and admiration for a few of the male mushers I had been inclined to think not so well of. They showed sides I had no clue existed. It was all a powerful quasi-spiritual experience.
Then in the afternoon I visited the museum on the former townsite of Knik (K is not silent) and met another neat lady. She is part Arapaho and grew up with horses as her parents farmed back in the northern midwest and some in Alaska, I gathered. Knik was a booming town in the gold rush before Anchorage or Wasilla came to be but is now a shadow with a few ruins and a few restored old buildings, of which the museum is one. Upstairs there is housed the Iditarod Hall of Fame, another pretty awe inspiring place even if in a bit of disarray and not well kept up. This is more due to lack of funds than care and wishes I am sure.
Anyway, this lady, Diane Williams and I had a great visit as I was the only person there for the afternoon. The downstairs was full of antiques and relics of the 1880-1920 period or so and again in a bit of disarray.I wish I had about $250,000 and a helper or two and we'd whip that place into shape but the modern area is under the management of a local Native Tribe who struggle to keep it going and are way down the totem pole in getting the support and funds they need. I may make a cause of this!!
So it was an amazing day and moving in a lot of ways. Now I need to call Deedee Jonrowe, who is an amazing lady also. She emailed me back and has been having family health issues which have been difficult and demanding but she hopes to see me Monday or Tuesday if I can get to Willow, about thirty miles up the highway in the direction of Denali and Fairbanks. Once that is nailed down I will see what else I may be able to do before Thursday morning and my flight to Fairbanks.
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!