Zuma's Paw Prints

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 …

Gearing Up For the 2022 Iditarod

Hello friends, It’s almost time for the 2022 Iditarod and mushers are working hard to get ready. At this writing, 52 teams are signed up (11 teams have withdrawn). Some old favorites are coming back and there are 13 Rookies. A rule change for the 50th race is that “only mushers starting the Iditarod for …

Eggs on a Sled?

Dear Friends, We know that sled dogs helped get mail and supplies to gold miners in the 1800s and early 1900s.  Did you know that they also helped transport eggs?  The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., has a display that talks about eggs being part of the Alaskan mail system!  It was difficult …

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 …

Training Sled Dogs to Accept Booties

Dear Friends, Winter is here and we sled dogs are loving our training runs with the mushers!  Many of you know that we wear cloth booties on our feet when we run the Iditarod.  These fit over our four paws and a Velcro strip keeps each snug on our ankles.   The reason we wear …

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 …