Wednesday, 19 March 2008

March 19, 2008 Back In Willow

Just thought I'd take a moment to let everyone know that Dasher, Sprite, Tess, Crunchie, Watt, Charge, Barq, Hector, Moses, Jr, Batdog, Q, Mark and I all arrived back in Willow very late last night (or early this morning, depending on how you look at it). Everyone is doing great. The crew left behind were extremely noisy and welcoming with their greetings! Especially Kara and Jinx.

I will tell some more tales and such later, but just wanted to take a moment to answer the one question that everyone seems to have for me of late - and that is what about Snickers.

As sunset was just approaching Friday night, we crested Cape Nome and a lovely view of the coast and Nome lay in front of us. This has long been my favorite spot on the Iditarod Trail, not just for it's beauty, but for it's special significance to me. For my first finish in '01 and every one since, I have stopped at this spot and spent a
few moments thanking my dogs for the journey and telling them how much I value them all. I know many mushers do that in Nome, but I have always preferred to have that quiet, special moment with them out on the trail. Once we get to Nome things get so hectic and out of control. At the top of Cape Nome, finishing is pretty much a given, but you are still in the solitude and peace that signifies most of the journey. It is a special spot for me and where I have always known that Snickers belonged.
So, with a beautiful sunset beginning to color the sky, I set my hooks and scattered all but a small amount of Snickers ashes. I took time to tell her how much I adored and missed her and how I would never forget her. Then I turned my attention to my 12 current companions and told them each how much I valued, loved them and how thankful I was for their companionship and hard work on our journey to Nome.
Pets and ear scratches were given, I asked Snickers to watch over teams on their journeys into Nome, told her I'd see her again and then headed for the burled arch.

When we crossed under the finish line in Nome, I took the last bit of  her ashes and sprinkled them under the arch.

Lines from one of my favorite Robert Service poems ran through my mind -

"A promise made is a debt unpaid and the trail has it's own stern

The promise I made to her in Grayling last year was now paid.

Goodbye my friend.


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