March 9 5:29PM Huslia Seavey tests the pack In front to Huslia

March 9 5:29PM HUSLIA

Joe Runyan


Our Insider guru Greg Heister, camaeramen Bodhi and Jeff, and myself departed resting front runners Wade Marrs, Dallas Seavey, et al in Ruby to intercept RACE LEADER Mitch Seavey when he arrives approximatel at 8:30PM in Huslia.


Bodhi has covered the 90 mile trail from Galena to Huslia by helicopter and reports that he interviewed Mitch SEavey at a shelter cabin about halfway.  He was briefly resting before launching again for Huslia where we all presume he will declare his 24 hour mandatory break.  Bodhi reports he stopped to break up the long run and did mention that his hands were taking a beating from cold temps. Be sure to check out the interview which will be posted at the Insider.  

In second and third position, look who has moved to the front.  Jessie Royer, who has been emersed in the field, has now vaulted to the front.  Bodhi reports that she is in great spirits. Michelle Phillips is in position third, a story we want to learn more about when she arrives later tonight in Huslia.  Bodhi was not able to interview Michelle on the move.  Check out Bodhi’s report on the Insider.


HUSLIA< the origin of the Alaskan Husky

The huslia checkpoint wonderfully organized around the softball field—like a town plaza designed for mushers!  Note the community hall, offices, church for musher sleeping , in the background


Huslia is a remote and remarkeable village whose economy of subsistence revolved around the culture of sled dogs used for trapping and transportation.   The late George Attla, one of the best known of Huslia’s mushing personalities, told me the families were constantly on the move, travelling to trap camps or fish camps that could support them.  IN that process a pride, an important cultural trait, developed which put the families in competition to show the best dog teams.  As a short history, that is how Huslia became known as the birth place of the fast travelling, durable, powerful husky that you see now running the Iditarod.


In the community building on the periphery of the large open area used for the Iditarod dog yard I saw a photograph which demonstrates this phenomena.  This is one of George Attla’s legendary teams, composed of the best from the families of Huslia.  That photo is a powerf historical study of how a community worked to improve a way of life and developed the animals needed to transport big sled loads of gear in extreme winter conditions.

A photo in the community offices of George Attla champion team. Note the contributors