Sanka W. Dog

Virtual Trail Journey – Nome

The fire siren sounds in Nome to announce that a dog team is approaching Front Street.  It wails for the champion, the Red Lantern and every musher in between.  Family, handlers and fans put on their coats, boots, hats and mittens and gather at the burled arch to welcome another Iditarod finisher  Approaching the burled …

Virtual Trail Journey – Safety

Out in the middle of no-where on the Nome to Council Highway sits the Safety Roadhouse.  Looking back toward White Mountain, you see nothing but a few hills and snow, looking toward Nome you see nothing but flat land and snow.  Looking out over the Bering Sea, you see nothing except sea ice and ice …

Virtual Trail Journey – White Mountain

When mushers leave Elim, they head along the shore to a spot called Walla Walla.  Here the trail crosses a peninsula and climbs over the Kwiktalik Mountains.  The highest point that the mushers reach is 1,000 feet above sea level at Little McKinley  Trail expert, Don Bowers, says this the toughest climb on the last …

Virtual Trail Journey – Elim

Elim, an Inupaig village of 310 people is situated on the south shore of the Seward Peninsula or north shore of Norton Bay.  Elim (EE-lum) is 100 miles east of Nome as the crow flies.  Like all bush villages, Elim isn’t connected by road to the rest of Alaska.  The only way to travel into …

Virtual Trail Journey – Koyuk

Just out of  Shaktoolik, teams will run through rolling tundra.  Some of the villagers have reindeer herds that graze there.  Once out on the sea ice, the great white expanse of Norton Bay can be overwhelming and confusing, especially in high winds.  Don Bowers, Jr. calls the 50 mile section of trail from Shaktoolik to …

Virtual Trail Journey – Shaktoolik 

The village of Shaktoolik (shak-TOO-lick) is located on a little spit of land that juts out into the Norton Sound.  There is one road that runs through town out to the air strip with houses, two stores, two churches, the school, the power plant, the city well, the clinic  and the Armory spread along its …

Virtual Trail Journey – Unalakleet

The trail from Kaltag to Unalakleet (YOU-na-la-Kleet) follows a portage trail used by the Athabascans of the interior to travel to the Bering Coast to trade with the Inupiaq Eskimos.  Russians also used the trail in their exploration and trading activities. Just 15 miles out of Kaltag, the mushers climb to 800 feet above sea level …

Virtual Trail Journey – Kaltag

The village of Kaltag is perched high on the west bank of the Yukon River.  Teams will make a short steep climb up the river bank and run down main street to the octagonal log community center in the middle of town.  After sledding for many miles on the Yukon, mushers are happy to depart …

Virtual Trail Journey – Nulato (Northern Route)

The village of Nulato (nu-LAU-toe) is situated on the mighty Yukon 52 miles down river from Galena.  Well before the town was incorporated in 1963, Athabascans from the interior and Eskimos from the coast met at Nulato for trading.  After the Russian explorer Malakov arrived in the 1830, an actual trading post was built.  The …

Virtual Trail Journey – Galena (Northern Route)

Leaving Ruby, Mushers travel 50 miles down the frozen Yukon River to the village of Galena.  The first town site of Galena was established in 1918 near a native fish camp called Henry’s Point.  It was one of many fish camps located on the Yukon River. Athabascans in the area were nomadic.  The location of …