The Iditarod Alphabet 2017
S is Sled: Fun in Galena
The first sleds were traditionally made of wood, but today they are much more high-tech. Many mushers today make their sleds from a variety of materials, including hockey sticks. The sled hold all the mushers’ gear including extra dog booties, dog food, cooker, snow shoes, and many other things. Mushers can also send out additional sleds on the trail, in case a sled breaks or if they want a lighter one towards the end of the race.
Galena is the checkpoint to be at right now! There are 34 teams currently in Galena, and many mushers will be taking their 24 hour rest here. The Galena schools are also out of session today, so there are kids everywhere. They are so excited to visit with the mushers and pet some of the dogs. They are even building snow forts and having snowball fights.
One of the questions I have been wondering is where mushers sleep while they are out on the trail. Many will sleep in the checkpoint building along the way, but many also camp outside the checkpoints. Melissa Stewart said she likes to sleep on her sled bag, while Charley Bejna prefers to take some extra stray and lay it next to a few of his dogs. Other mushers like to sleep in their sleeping bag, and some even fall asleep while their team is still running!
Some of you might wonder what a 24 hour rest looks like for a musher. When a team first arrives the musher bed down the dogs and make sure they have a snack to eat. A musher will then usually get some food, and a few hours of sleep. A majority of the time the mushers are sitting around tables catching up with one another—discussing the trail, how their team is doing, among other things. This is also a time when mushers might take their dogs on individual walks to give each dog some quality one-on-one time. The dogs are well cared for by the veterinarians during the 24 hours rest, and they make sure all dogs are ready to go before they leave the checkpoint.
If you had 24 hours at a checkpoint how would you spend it? Why?