The Iditarod Alphabet 2017
T is for Tanana
Tanana is a checkpoint on the 2017 Iditarod. This is the third time the race has gone through the village. Currently there are 248 people who call Tanana home, and there are 42 students in the school. This year the village will host the “First to the Yukon” award in which the musher gets a nice dinner provided by Iditarod sponsor, The Lakefront Hotel. This year the first musher to the Yukon River was Nic Petit.
The back of the pack has arrived in Galena and they are in good spirits. I got to catch up with Roger Lee as he was working on his team this morning. He was feeding and checking in on each of his dogs, making sure they were all doing well. He also showed me his sled which needed to be repaired shortly after leaving Fairbanks. He stressed the importance of making sure you have the tools you need in order to repair a sled or anything that might break along the trail. Roger was able to use a few clamps and part of a trail marker to fix the sled and continue on his way. It is amazing what these mushers can do with little resources and cold temperatures.
The front runners are now into Koyukuk: Wade, Mitch, Dallas, and Joar. The rest of the map is filled with mushers going to and from the village of Huslia. Huslia has a population of 275 residents and was home to one of the mushing greats, George Attla. George was one of the best open-class sprint dog racers, and holds ten Fur Rendezvous World Championships. The Fur Rendezvous is a 75 mile sled dog race that takes place over 3 days (three 25 mile legs) each February. George also finished the inaugural Iditarod in 1973. The movie, Spirit of the Wind, is the story of George and his upbringing in the dog sledding community.