l can’t believe I was able to watch the start of the Iditarod in person and see the amazing mushers that I have followed for years as they left the shoot and began the race. What a fabulous memory! Unfortunately the start of the race meant that my time in Alaska was growing short. Lucky for me one of my final tasks was to work behind the scenes in race communications (Comms). Volunteers in race communications are divided into two groups. One group is flown to the checkpoints along the trail and the other group is assigned to communications in Anchorage. I was assigned to the Anchorage group.
The volunteers who were sent to checkpoints were responsible for checking each musher in and out of each checkpoint and sending the information back to Anchorage. The comms team in Anchorage (the team I was assigned to) then followed a very meticulous process to report the information to the world via the Iditarod homepage. Contact to the first two checkpoints is made through email, but as the mushers move along the trail, some checkpoints are so remote that communication becomes a bit more challenging often relying on satellite phones or other means of communication. It was interesting to make the connection between what we see on the website and process that goes into getting the information out to the public.
Ten days ago, my journey to Alaska began. I was nervous, excited, anxious, and wasn’t sure what to expect. This experience has proven to be one of the most amazing adventures in my life. During my time in Alaska I have seen and experienced so much, from visiting Matthew Failor’s Kennel, the vet checks, Jon Van Zyles house, and learning from incredible educators at the conference. The many wonderful presentations have given me so many new lessons to share with my students. I can’t wait to incorporate these ideas into my classroom!
I have met so many people who have enriched my knowledge and love of the Iditarod. It is energizing to be with a group of amazing educators, who all share the same passion for the Iditarod as I do. I am so happy to have had Mary Lynn Roush and Lisa Lange on this journey with me. We have had some amazing adventures together, that I will never forget. No matter where this journey ends, I know I will be returning to Alaska and the Iditarod!
“Set a goal to achieve, something that is so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time.” Bob Proctor