Page 3 of secondwynd Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage March 2nd 2018

I started the day by meeting Dan Seavey, one of the founders of the Iditarod race over 45 years ago. He was selling and autographing his book, The First Great Race. Back in the '70s, dog sledding was on the decline because of alternative transportation via snow machine and airplane technology evolution that would allow planes to operate in a wider range of conditions. I haven't gotten far into the book, but he says he compares "then and now" in the race to show how things have changed, as well as mushing in general. I realize the book (as any auto-biographical work can be!) is slanted to his "dynasty," but I'm looking forward to reading it. Dan Seavey and his wife moved to Alaska from Minnesota in 1963, and then was one of the founding members ... read more
Stacks of trail gear, waiting to go!
This pair is READY!
Handlers are ready, too!

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage March 1st 2018

All of Anchorage is busy this week with the preparations for Iditarod, but they are also hosting their 83rd Annual Fur Rondy (Rendezvous) Festival - a week-long celebration of all things Winter and Alaska. Starting with a parade, they have a carnival, films, and sporting events (like curling, hockey, foot races, sled dog races, and ice bowling), as well as arts and cultural events. The entire town gets involved, and (surprise) the bars, stores, and restaurants have events and promotions, too! The thing I'm sorry to miss is the Running with the Reindeer, which looks like a hoot, but I'll probably be otherwise involved with Iditarod Ceremonial Start events. It sounds like it's just like the Running of the Bulls, except people are chased through town by Reindeer! One event that is part of the Fur ... read more
Ski Tracks
Mr. Susitna across Cook Inlet

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage February 28th 2018

I've met a few more volunteers today, and got my outer wear from a rental place. It's an interesting concept...this couple started renting outdoor equipment like skis and snowshoes, and branched into renting outerwear as well. I'm sure I paid for about half of an entire outfit by renting, but I know I'm getting stuff that will keep me warm. Plus I didn't have to lug all that stuff up here! If I come back another year, I'll know better what I should purchase, but especially this first time it seems a great way to do this. Michelle made a couple trips and brought different sizes of pants and a jacket, as well as a balaclava, several pairs of mittens, gloves, and liners, several hats, a couple extra fleece shirts, and boots! She has also been ... read more
Pillar at Gwennie's

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage February 27th 2018

This will be a shorter entry - It's about 1:30 am Eastern time, but only about 9:30 here - too early to go to bed, right? I just arrived at my hotel (The Lakefront), and I'm sure the bar downstairs has an Alaskan Amber with my name on it ~ Kathy got me to the airport on time, and when I arrived at the gate, I met a woman from Lakewood and a man from Canton who were heading up here too! It's her first year but he has worked the trail for several years, I think. I'll catch up with them and get the info in the next couple days. As it turns out, she and I are working the same shift on the Comm team. Small world! The trip up here was long but ... read more
Dinner on the Plane
My Friend, the Airport Moose
Shuttle to the Lakefront

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage February 22nd 2018

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History displays Balto in a glass case with a plaque to mark his contribution to history...but I had forgotten his Cleveland connection! In 1925, nationwide radio and newspaper coverage reported the news of the anti-toxin delivery; in Nome, mushers and teams were celebrated for their record-breaking 5-day journey through raging storms, frigid temperatures, and whiteout blizzards. Though each of the 20 mushers received a small wage and a citation from the governor of the territory, it was the team on the final leg that garnered most of the public glory. Understandably, there was some anger from other mushers, particularly Leonhard Seppala, a premier musher of the day, whose team had run a much longer and more dangerous leg. In addition to the team he drove for his leg of the delivery, ... read more
Balto in Cleveland

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage February 11th 2018

I have been thinking a lot about the race, and how hard it is to imagine what the teams go through. Saying, "The Iditarod is a thousand miles," is quite different from picturing the distance in more concrete terms. For example, the distance is about equivalent to the distance between Minneapolis, MN, and Bozeman, MT...imagine doing that at 5-10 miles per hour, with temperatures 20-50 degrees below zero, snow, and potentially gale force winds! Oh yeah, add in crossing the Alaska Range, too! I'm glad I'll be sitting in the Com Center entering data! A couple of weeks ago, I watched the DVD, Cold and Fast that I received after joining the Iditarod Trail Committee. The film is about the 45th running of the race in 2017, and gives a vivid feeling of what the mushers ... read more

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage February 7th 2018

I'm excited to be planning my trip. I have several volunteer jobs lined up for the duration. Though I want to get as varied an experience as I can, I know I'll have time to play, too! The main job I'll be doing there is working with the Communications Team. I don't know the details yet, but as I understand it, we will be the information repository for the race. That job will start for me on Monday, the day after the official start of the Iditarod. We will be collecting and sharing data from the checkpoints, entering it into spreadsheets, issuing reports, and certainly more activities. Before the race, I have a short stint at the Registration Desk on one of the evenings, helping mushers and volunteers check in for the week, and will be ... read more

North America » United States » Alaska » Anchorage February 6th 2018

The 2018 race will be the 46th running of the Iditarod, "The Last Great Race." There are currently 68 teams registered to race across Alaska from near Anchorage to Nome, a distance of about 1,000 miles. The winner in 2017 set a record of just over 8 days to complete the distance. The teams race around the clock, with 3 mandatory rest stops spaced along the course. The race commemorates the historical delivery of diptheria serum by heroic dog sled teams, back in January, 1925, when Nome was even more remote than it is today; even mail was delivered to Nome by dog sled. When the local doctor diagnosed a few cases of diptheria, he radioed to locate serum to halt the outbreak. In the days of open cockpit planes, in January it ... read more

North America » United States » Alaska » Talkeetna June 5th 2017

Monday We took the Denali Star north to Denali National Park. The Anchorage train station is about 230 miles south of the park, and it took about 8 hours to get there by train! The train car is very comfortable with large windows, and during the trip, it’s easy to walk from car to car, and stop in small open-air vestibules between the cars for an even better view. There is also a dining car, where you can order meals, or you can lounge and eat your own snacks that you brought. We visited other cars in the train, including the double-decker with the glass top for a panoramic view! They made announcements during the ride to let us know what we might see on either side, including, “On the right side of the tracks you ... read more
Summit Lake - Matanuska
Above Hurricane Gulch
Crossing Hurricane Gulch

North America » United States » Alaska » Seward June 3rd 2017

We reached Seward late afternoon on Saturday. We checked into the Breeze Inn, just off the main drag through Seward; it was an odd motel that backs up to a pretty busy road. This wasn’t the best room we stayed in during the trip, but was clean enough. One of the most interesting things about the hotel is the display of photos from the 9.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred on Good Friday in 1964. A huge chunk of the coast dropped into the bay, the shock of which created a 30 foot tall Tsunami wave that went nearly a mile in-shore. There was also massive damage in Anchorage, 75 miles away. After settling in, we walked to the "restaurant row" for dinner, where we had fresh fish at The Alaska Seafood Grill. It's a very casual ... read more
Glacier and Ice Bergs!
Iceberg in My Hands

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