Social Studies

Virtual Trail Journey – Finger Lake

The distance from Skwentna to Finger Lake, population 2, is 40 miles.  Roughly, it’ll take four to six hours to cover the mostly uphill route although the run isn’t tough.  The teams will run on rivers, lakes, swamps and wooded areas.   Like I did, with Handler’s help, you can find out a lot about the …

Virtual Trail Journey – Skwentna

The distance from Yentna Station to the second checkpoint, Skwentna is 30 miles.  These are easy miles for the mushers and dog teams as the trail follows the Yentna River until joining the Skwentna River a couple of miles short of the checkpoint.  Most mushers find the trail easy to follow but a few take …

Virtual Trail Journey – Yentna Station

The distance from the Willow restart to the first checkpoint, Yentna Station, is 42 miles.  These are easy miles for the mushers and dog teams as most are on frozen river ice or well traveled snowmachine trails.  Most of the traffic at Yentna station goes straight on through, stopping just long enough to check in …

Virtual Trail Journey – Willow Restart

Restart?  How can a race have two starts?  This is more than I can wrap my young dog brain around!  It’s true though; Iditarod has TWO starts – the CEREMONIAL START in Anchorage and then on the following day the RESTART in Willow. Some folks refer to it as the REAL START.  Once the teams …

Virtual Trail Journey – Ceremonial Start in Anchorage

One day this fall, Handler came into the dog yard and said, “Hey big dogs, do you want to hear about Anchorage and the Ceremonial Start?”  We answered, “YES” with a loud and enthusiastic howl.  Handler sat on the roof of my doghouse and this is what she told us. On the first Saturday morning …

Virtual Trail Journey – Pronunciation and Quick Facts Southern Route

How do you say Shaktoolik?  I’m not sure if I’m saying Unalakleet correctly and how cold does it get in Unalakleet?  What about Koyuk?   I get these types of questions on a regular basis.  Seems like it might be useful to create a guide with pronunciations and pertinent information for teachers and students.  So …

Primary Source of the Month: April

Something that every Iditarod Rookie looks forward to is “earning his or her buckle.” Each Iditarod finisher is awarded a brass finisher’s belt buckle upon the completion of their first race signaling that they are a rookie no more! In the early days of the race, the Nome Kennel club wanted to do something to …

Primary Source of the Month: March

One of the iconic images of the Iditarod is the Burled Arch that stands at the end of the epic journey the teams take across the state of Alaska. But, did you know the current Burled Arch is actually the second arch in Iditarod History? Using the Source With Students: Display the historic photo above …

Primary Source of the Month: January

Last month, we looked at the use of the Iditarod Trail as a mail trail by investigating trail mail. This month, we turn our focus to the use of the Iditarod Trail during the Gold Rush Days. The vault of the Miners and Merchants Bank is one of the few structures still standing in Iditarod …

Going North – The Rush Is On!

In September of 1898, the “Three Lucky Swedes” discovered gold on Anvil Creek, founded the Nome Mining District, and started a new rush to the North.  By 1898, Nome had a population of 10,000, many of whom had arrived for the Klondike Gold Rush.  When gold was discovered on the beaches of Nome, the rush …