Back in Anchorage 3.22.11

Last night the last group of volunteers, except those working in the dog lot in Nome where teams rested awaiting their flights home, returned to Anchorage. The group included cooks, dog handlers, vets, trail sweeps (people who follow the end of the race on snowmachines), Iditarod Insider crew, ITC employees, and me.

On Sunday, an enormous number of volunteers set up the Nome Recreation Center for the finishers banquet. Staff from the Millennium Hotel in Anchorage came in to help prepare the Alaskan king crab legs, halibut, beef, vegetables, salads, and strawberries which were arranged in dog sleds on the buffet tables. 800 tickets were available for the event, and I didn’t notice empty seats, or empty stomachs after that meal! Someone from Little Diomede kindly showed me how to crack the crab legs and get that delicious, sweet meat to dip in butter. (Check the map to find out where Little Diomede is and what is on that island now.)

Monday found me at Nome Elementary School and the Head Start program presenting to all the grade levels. The school is a beautiful building and is filled with student projects including hatching salmon and bulletin boards of newspaper clippings about the Iditarod.

Monday was a windy day with snow falling. By recess, though, the snowfall had stopped. Students played outside on the playground equipment and pushed snow around into piles with their hands, as if in a sandbox making sandpiles. Compare and contrast your recess time with the description and photos of the Nome Elementary recess time.

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After being interviewed by a high school student and visiting with a high school English and journalism teacher in Nome, I was dropped off at the church where I’ve been staying and I packed my gear bag, readying it and me for the flight to Anchorage.

This isn’t my last post, though, so return to the blog to read new posts.