Takotna 10 AM
Finally, weather has improved and planes are starting to move the iditarod infrastructure of veterinarians and officials and volunteers up the trail.
The Takotna school has served as a media base but now there is a ruffling of sleeping bags as reporters wad up gear in bags and wait for a small aircraft flight. The story is clearly in Iditarod where Mackey and King are into a 24 , Burmeister, Zirkle, and Seavey are approaching Iditarod, Berkowitz back in the mix and approaching Iditarod, and Martin Buser is protecting a hard earned lead while resting in Iditarod.
Anticipating a flight, I sit next to Alan Hollman in the community center. Alan has been chief vet for the Yukon Quest and now working with the Iditarod. He sighted major improvments in the understanding of sled dogs and working dogs in general. Without question, he said, the knowledge base accumulated by veterinarians working with sled dogs, and their organization the ISDVMA (International group dedicated to studying sled dog and working dog health) is premier. He pointed out that methods to monitor health of the dogs on the trail is based on a continuous supervision, even if different vets view the dogs in each new checkpoint setting. In the last meeting, for example, of this professional group, “we spent a full day seminar just on the Shoulder of working dogs.” The quantum leap in
The department of Defense, he pointed out, is presently spending a million dollars a year studying sled dogs and has used experimental settings to monitor oxygen consumption equivalent to 15,000 ft above sea level, trying to unlock the physiological magic of the alaskan husky.
Check out photos of Mike Williams Sr, who is making a recreational trip on the trail. All he and his sons efforts have gone into the team of very competitive Mike Williams, Jr.
Mike is waiting beside his dogs outside the Takotna checkpoint for the checker to give the word that its ok to depart. While we are chewing the fat, one of his dogs startscleverly removing booties, very precisely grabbing the velcro tie and unzippering the bootie. “this dog is a professional boot remover, ” he says with a little exasperation, and bends down to re install booties.