Man and his best friend on four legs will brave the icy sting of Mother Nature this weekend in Anchorage, Alaska’s 40th Iditarod.
On a 1,048 mile journey through the most dangerous and treacherous land in America, 66 sled teams consisting of 12 to 15 huskies and one or two mushers will brave 2 weeks of grueling race to become the new year’s champions.
Achieving the title of Iditarod Champion is no easy feat.
Anyone planning to attempt this race is expected to face several challenges, including temperatures far below zero, limited to no visibility, steep mountains, frozen rivers, and wild animals, just to name a few.
The easiest way to move mail, supplies, and gold through Alaska was to use sled dogs, but it wasn’t until 1925 that mushers and their pups endured the Iditarod trail in order to bring Diphtheria serum to Nome from Anchorage. It wasn’t long till this path paved the way for what is deemed as the last great race on earth.
A Glance inside Anchorage
Located in the South central region, Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska. It’s a cosmopolitan port city that houses a population of over 300,000. Yet, for as bustling as this city seems, there’s nothing more impressive about Anchorage than the nature that fills it.
If you’re looking for the best way to get to know Anchorage, head to Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Beyond the amazing views, the path takes you past places like Lake Hood, a peculiar little seaplane base that is always busy. The trail starts downtown, and leads you on a 14 mile excursion sandwiched by forests and the ocean of Cook Inlet. No car? No problem! A shuttle provides round-trip transportation between downtown and trailhead for $22.
It’s not unusual to see a moose on the foothills of the Chugach mountains…you can pretty much just drive by and spot them. It’s also not entirely unheard of to hear about bears being spotted in residential areas. But if you want to see wild bears it’s best to head to Denali or Katmai National Parks. Dall Sheep can often be seen while driving down the Seward Highway just south of Anchorage. Go a little farther and you can find a great place to view waterfowl and eagles, at Potter’s Marsh.