Paws Along the Trail in Nome
There is a famous saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” I think it could work for “When in Nome, do as the people of Nome do.” So, what are we doing in Nome now that the race is over? Mushers are signing autographs in the mini convention center. Some of the earlier finishers look refreshed. Those who arrived yesterday still look a bit weary and wind-burned. It’s interesting how the dogs have plenty of energy. Speaking of dogs, they are gradually being flown to Anchorage to go home. Musher dog handlers will pick up the dogs and truck them to home.
Nome also has a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Veterinarian, Dr. Kim, donated some green bling for me to wear in the blowing snow for the event. Irish music was playing in the background as 20 of us walked down Front Street with the town’s mayor, waving at those who were watching.
The Nome Kennel Club is a group of like-minded people who plan races and bring out their beloved dogs and sleds to allow others the joy of mushing. They set up mini-races during Iditarod Week for novices like me. Everyone was helpful, informative, and enthusiastic about their sled dogs.
“Keep your knees flexible. If you have to stop the dogs, here is the brake. If you REALLY need to stop them, put the snow hook into the snow and stomp down hard on it.” Callie, Asp, and Horatio were my sled dogs. I thought it would be nice to yell out encouragements to them. “Good dogs!” They would then slow down, turn around, and look at me. That’s not what I wanted, so I kept quiet until I needed them to swing left on the windswept trail. “Haw!” I don’t know if they really obeyed me or were so used to the trail that they went in the correct direction. My team was a little bit slower mostly because they had to go to the bathroom on the run, but all at different times. “That’s just what sled dogs do,” explained the handler. I was just thankful none of it flew back onto me!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to do. When in Nome…