Changes for the Dogs

Dear Friends,

Gypsy here, one of your canine Iditarod reporters.  Have you heard the big news?  The Iditarod race has to be rerouted into a loop in March 2021!  Why?  Race officials are being careful and avoiding any possible spread of CoVid to  towns along the Iditarod Trail.  It’s just one more change because of the pandemic.  It’s sad for the small Alaskan communities like Koyuk, Elim, and White Mountain, who look forward to their friends, volunteers and mushers, coming to town.  However, they do understand and are looking forward to next year, which will be the 50th anniversary of the race.

Musher Marcelle Fressineau has lots of experience with sled dogs.  She knows that sled dogs remember the Iditarod trail from year to year.  They get really excited and know when a checkpoint is ahead.  Think about this and discuss:

  • Will experienced sled dogs have trouble making a loop and going back the same way they just ran?  
  • Will the teams meet other teams head-on?  Read Teacher on the Trail™ Jim Deprez’s article about this:  Misconceptions and More: Passing   

Some of the most difficult parts of the Iditarod Trail need to be run TWO TIMES this year!  These include going up and over the mountains of the Alaska Range, the Happy River Steps, and the dreaded Dalzell Gorge.  Why are these sections so difficult?  Look for more information in my next couple of articles and why the race on the Iditarod Gold Trail Loop is going to be a real challenge for the mushers.

Until next time, this is your canine reporter,