Saturday, March 10, 2007

They've Landed in Eagle Island

This is the only picture I could find online with Ralph Conaster, the owner of the homestead at Eagle Island where the top mushers have been resting all this morning. From what I have read this is a favored stop for tired athletes and mushers. Why? Apparently it is sheltered from the constant wind, has good company and a warm place to get some much needed rest.
Accommodations like this are irresistible. I cannot recall anyone pushing through Eagle Island. Most mushers plan to stay at least six or seven hours before pulling the hook for another 70-mile run up the Mighty Yuke to Kaltag.
From Cabela's Iditarod Trail. I am not sure what is there now since I've read that the spacious cabin the Conaster's had there burned in one of the fires that went through the area. I think but I am not positive that there are cabins there which the mushers are welcomed to rest in. So I don't know what is there now, but here is a picture of one of Eagle Island's residents, Ralph Conaster, that I found at the Iditarod Air Force Gallery, maybe he is the only resident there?

I am including the link of the Iditarod Air Force, 32 volunteer pilots that work to bring supplies, officials and veterinarians to the checkpoints during each Iditarod race. I can see where this bunch would be a very important part of the Iditarod. They drop off all that straw at each check point; bring back dog teams that have scratched; distribute over 74,513 lbs of dog food; transport "48 veterinarians that monitor the athletes before, during and after the race to insure there well being"! To see all that this bunch is involved with stop by their website. Iditarod Air Force.

This is the first year that I have realized that a bicycle and running bunch are also using the Iditarod trail, right now, at the same time that the mushers are out there. I hope that they are graciously stopping to move out of the way for the dogs and their mushers since this is an "Iditarod" trail.

When I read that they are out there it made me wrinkle my nose because it reminded me of how ATV trails get paved over and pretty little signs posted - No Motorized Vehicles Allowed, so that our bicycle riders have a nice safe place to ride (and most don't use anyway). That just rots my socks! Read more about the bicycle bunch here.

I admire riders with the stamina to pedal a bicycle all the way to Nome! What bugs me and maybe only me? The race is planned and carried out at the very same time as the Last Great Race. Why not before or after the mushers have done their race?

I can understand why they would want to be out there during the same time; the Iditarod race has pilots, officials and vets out there along the trail and perhaps they feel it is a safer time to do their ride. I wonder, have they contributed to the cost of grooming the trail for this event or even in planning to have it maintained?

Many times over on trails others have blazed, bicylists began to use them, (which is fine with us ATVer's), but when some begin to ride like it is their right to be there, and everyone else - look out for me-- that gets pretty irritating!

Where were the bicycle riders when the Tesoro Iron Dog bunch was speeding down the trail? Could it be they were concerned some of them could be flattened in the middle of the trail by the violent landing of a high flying snow machine? [hehehe]

Waving to all my bicycle riding friends. haha

Aha! The sleds have started down the trail! Jeff King has jumpstarted and is first on the trail with Buser right behind him after resting for 6.30 hrs. Paul Gebhardt and Lance Mackey have also been in Eagle Island but not as long, I am sure they will be on the trail again before long. Go, go, go doggies!

My brother Toby is planning to get out to Seattle to see Millie. Have a great visit Tobe!

Day 74


Constance said...

I've been following the race more intently this year than in years past. I've seen where Buser is doing really well! Yipee! I saw the pictures of Sigreid Ekran's broken nose. OUCH! My autobiography on Rachael Scdoris arrived this past Friday. It looks to be a good read! I might save it for the plane ride on our Yosemite trip nex month.

I have had only limited experiences with bike riders and that's been pretty negative. There's a bike club that rides every Sunday morning and we "put up with them" on the drive to church. They never ride single file but 4-5 abreast on the main thoroughfare. They are pretty irritating when they don't move over to the shoulder. I wish we had established, paved biking trail system in the metroplex the way Denver has!

Connie Marie said...


Sunday morning, that sounds about right for the time to encounter a challenge on your "long suffering" attitudes!

I told my kids that Sunday is probably, for believers in the USA, the most serious time of front-line spiritual warfare than the whole rest of the week. Why should our adversary challenge us so viciously during the regular routine times when the best time to cast a shadow on the image of our LORD is on Sunday --- when the world recognizes the ones that are going to "worship" Him and the ones that are not.

Woohoo the race is getting intense! I hope the sleds, dogs and mushers can hold up to the speed that Jeff King is setting. Not much time for rest!

edt said...

Keep up the interesting posts on the Iditarod...Chickadee :)

I particularly like the side link to the Iditarod Airforce.
Ordinarily one wouldn't trip over something like this on the internet, but reading the pilot's background page gives you a wee peek into Alaskan life.

I find it interesting that so many pilots and their wives have moved north from warmer climes.

Regards from late summer in NZ.