saturday: the day started out rainy but warm. We had showers off and on with some sun during the day. I went to see Mary Fields, the first woman to finish the Iditarod. She never won but has been a leader in the field of mushing, breeding and raising the dogs for many years. We went to her home, where she has her dogs in an enclosure near her gorgeous log cabin. She talked about the dogs, let us go in and meet them, then showed us the sled she has used for years and the tent she uses for her winter camping trips. She showed us her garden and invited us in her home. The cabin’s roof is covered in sod to conserve energy, she grows delfiniums and berries in the sod. In the house she gave us coffee and fresh oatmeal cookies, showed us the hat and mittens she has that were knit from yarn spun from her dog’s hair, the sealskin jacket that was given to her by a fellow musher on a trip she made into Siberia. She is a fascinating woman, her love for her dogs radiates from her. Her philosophy is to breed dogs that love to run, raise them to want to please you, let the older dogs show the young ones what to do, then let them run and enjoy the ride.
After the dogs, we ate lunch at a restaurant that was an old pump house and went to the visitor’s center and the University of Alaska Museum. We saw bat skeletons, teradactyl bones, wooly mammoth tusks, some old Russian artifacts and a water bag made out of salmon skins. There were pictures and life stories about some women who were here during the gold rush, so many different backgrounds but all so brave and adventuresome. We also saw part of the pipeline, where there is soil it is buried but where there is permafrost it is elevated.
A great day. We are off to Denali tomorrow for 2 nights. No cellular coverage there so I’ll catch up when we get to Anchorage.
PS note from Anchorage......Jim figured out the glitch was having too many pictures on the drafts so we did some cut and paste on this one. The format is wonky but we decided to try to solve that problem tomorrow (the Scarlett O'Hara method)