Magical McGrath

Resting in McGrath under a blanket of snow. Photo Credit: J. Westrich

Attitude. Optimism. These are two of the 8 Traits of Iditarod. Sometimes they can be a hard sell. But they can be incredibly useful in the face of difficult situations, particularly those we have no control over. I have been looking forward to this adventure for almost a year. Yesterday I was to fly to Takotna and realize a recent dream of eating as much pie as possible. Up early to get a jumpstart on the day I woke to gray skies, and a strange spitting coming from above. This was not the weather we needed to fly out of McGrath. Weather is one of those things we have no control over. I took a deep breath, checked my attitude, and decided to look at this situation with optimism and positivity. You get what you get, and you don’t get upset – and with the right outlook you can find hidden gifts in misfortune.

Neighborhood moose wandering McGrath. Photo Credit: J. Westrich

Taxidermy and furs sharing the animal life of the Kuskokwim River area. Photo Credit: J. Westrich

Our group of stranded volunteers decided to use the time to explore McGrath. Visiting the local museum – a combination of history, natural sciences, transportation, and Iditarod displays – we were overwhelmed with interesting artifacts of life in interior Alaska. 

Freight sled and sleeping bag from the days of the Iditarod National Trail as a trade route. Photo Credit: J. Westrich

Gold Rush era cabin and artifacts typical of mining operations in Flat and Iditarod. Photo Credit: J. Westrich

We wandered the snowy streets to a coffee shop for refreshments and conversation. Local kids were outside making a snowman, and warm coffee, and comfy couches awaited us inside. As we sat together one of my new friends reminded us that yesterday was International Women’s Day – and cheers to us, six strong, adventurous women, in remote Alaska, taking on challenges and seeking new experiences.  It was a great moment to recognize that when you look at the world with optimism and a positive attitude you find great joy, and even better that we were doing it together.

Do you want to build a snowman? Photo Credit: J. Westrich

The cold never bothered me anyway….at least when I’m warm in the cafe! Photo Credit: J. Westrich