Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tanana bonfire

This afternoon we headed down the Tanana from the wayside downriver to the end of the second slough. The river was busy, a lot of people were enjoying the warm temperatures and sunshine. We had already passed one dog team, and here were two more, all with people sitting on the sled (likely paying passengers). Martin had a hold of Cooper to make sure that he didn't go say hi to the other dogs. I had Saphira, the kids had Cooper, and Martin got the most exercise - no dog to help along.

May be 3 miles down the river we arrived at the bonfire, near a fishwheel on a smaller slough of the Tanana. It is right under another bluff, but with a camera in one hand and skate boots on my feet, I didn't get very far up, unlike some others.

The kids got rides on the dogsled. First the girls, then the boys. With both Martin helped across the place where the ice was a bit broken so that the sled wouldn't crack, but after that the kids drove by themselves.

When the boys were on the dogsled, the girls got a ride from Chris. He always thought a snowmachine was a way to get chicks.

A closeup of the fishwheel on the bank of the river.

On the way back, around 5pm, we took a different, smaller slough, before going on the main river the last two miles. Fun time, passing many of the people from the party. On the main river a small breeze downriver slowed us down a tiny bit, but overall it was one excellent afternoon on the river, with friends, skiing, sunshine, and fun times.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

ONAC day 3 (dogsled races)

We watched today the last day of the Open (North American Championships). Egil Ellis won the Open for tenth time. Amazing. He was actually not the fastest today - Arleigh Reynolds beat him by 10s or so (on 27 miles - again, amazing!), but over the three days of racing and 67 miles (20+20+27), Egil won by 54 seconds.

This is how you get a superexcited team of about ten or so dogs to the starting line: you hook up a snowmachine behind, and that way you go only as fast as the snowmachine, and stop when it stops.

One of the mushers: Clifton Carroll of Ft Yukon. The only village musher this year. The rest of the 14 mushers were Fairbanks-based, except for 1 from Canada, 2 from Michigan, and Egil Ellis from Willow, Alaska.

The dogs run about 20mph, so during the hour or so between the time that the last mushers leave and first ones get back, there are various activities, including the parka parade. Here is one beautiful parka:

Overall, another beautiful day.

ONAC day 2 (dogsled races)

The Open North American Championships (ONAC) dogsledding races are underway this weekend. The "Open" stands for unlimited number of dogs, unlike the "Limited" last weekend. Wonderful weather for humans, too hot for the dogs - temperatures have been rising to close to the freezing point, may be even above it, in the heat of the day.

Arleigh Reynolds was in first place after the first day. Our dog Saphira comes from his lines, at least on ther mother's side of things (she ran off one time and came back pregnant, so the father was one of the dogs in the neighborhood). The nine-time defending champion Egil Ellis took the first place after the second day of racing. Today is the final day, day 3.

A couple pictures from day 2. We barely made it in to see the last few teams finishing at the dogmusher's hall.

Leading the dogs back to the dog truck after the race:

The last two mushers passing each other a hundred yards from the finish line. Mount Hayes in the background on the left, and Hess and Deborah on the right.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ice park

Well, let's see... Martin made it back ontime, despite the Chilean earthquake that happened five days before he traveled. But he made it back, and that allowed me to go to the ice park a few days ago at night, while he was at home with the sleeping kids.

A tribute to that famous photograph Lunch atop a skyscraper by Charles Ebbets.

A rather realistic-looking dragon, considering it is a mythical creature.

Mechanical fish.
A close-up of the multi-block piece Saltwater Safari, that won 1st place (realistic).
And now, ten days after Martin, our friends made it over to here also, and we're glad to have them. Yet another visit to the ice park today, was that the fourth one for me this year? - this time with them.
Ice phone.
Something for Doerte.
Coming from back from the giant slides.