Friday, 20 April 2012

And Now You Know - Part II

My 'And Now You Know' blog went over very well so I figured I would do a few more installments as I'm working on my 'Tales of the Trail' blogs.

So, if you have a question about Iditarod, something I've said in the blog or on Facebook, just post it to Facebook or the Blog and I'll answer it in an upcoming blog.

And now for "And Now You Know - Part II"

Anonymous said...
When do you decide to put on booties? Do the dogs like them?

My dogs do have tougher feet, so unlike some Alaskan teams, they do not wear booties all the time; only when conditions warrant.  

Deciding when to bootie is one of the things that experience teaches you. After tens of thousands of miles of trail I now 'usually' know when to put booties on and when not to for my dogs. 

Usually when it is extremely cold (below about -25F), when the snow is very windswept or very ice crystall-y. 

I also preventatively bootie dogs that don't have as tough feet as some of the others (Astro and Tramp) and any dogs that have had or have any abrasions on their feet.

Nannette Morgan said...
So having a fan stand on the brake doesn't count as accepting outside help per the rules? I know in checkpoints no one is supposed to help w/the dogs etc. Thanks!
So the deal with that is that if help is available to all, it is allowed. If I had arranged for someone to be standing on Long Lake to help out because I thought I might have a problem, I would have been violating the rules, but because this was help any one could have asked for, I was okay. 
Race Marshal Mark Nordman is also very clear about enforcing the 'spirit of the rules' rather than the 'law of the rules' - and he is big on dog safety, so if you are doing something, like asking a fan to stand on the brake in the interest of dog safety, you are unlikely to get reprimanded for it.  
KB said...
What are beads of courage? 

The Cartoonist here!  Karen asked me to explain the Beads of Courage question because I have a personal experience with them.  

As some of you may know, Iditarod mushers carry mandatory items (including trail mail) during the race, and sometimes individual mushers will carry an item for a special person or organization.  Such items are normally used to auction off later to help the organization raise money for their cause.

This year I was especially pleased to learn that 50 mushers were carrying beads.  These weren’t ordinary beads, they were very special beads organized by a group called Hot Headed Honeys - Alaska.

Beads of Courage was designed to give kids who suffer from cancer and blood disorders, cardiac conditions, burn injuries a way to tell their story and commemorate milestones they have achieved during the treatment.  Every time an enrolled child undergoes a procedure, they receive a special bead that represent the procedure they have gone through.  It's designed to give children a way to talk about their medical procedures,  shows them that they can endure future procedures, and gives a tangible display of what they’ve gone through that parents, friends, and strangers can see how brave they are.

I was blissfully unaware of such a program until my friends’ son was diagnosed with X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), which is commonly known as the disease from the movie "Lorenzo's Oil".  Alex went from a typical, rough and tumble young boy to a a boy dependent on others for care, bound to a wheelchair, and in and out of hospitals to survive. 

I know how many times Alex goes to the hospital, for both regular treatments and the emergency treatments.  It’s a LOT, but you really can’t appreciate just how many procedures he’s undergone… until you see his Beads of Courage.

Each bead is designed to show that a procedure was done, what type of procedure (from routine tests to surgeries) and allows the child to see that when they are scheduled for a procedure, it may be something they've already undergone and survived, which alleviates their anxiety, or the parents can point to a similar type of procedure bead and help the child understand the magnitude of what they will experience.  It also put a lot of things in perspective for me, not only to help me understand what he's going through, but to realize that in the grand scheme of things, even my worst day doesn't compare to what Alex has gone through, and will continue to go through.

The Beads of Courage organization accepts donations of handmade beads, quilters to make the bags that the children store their beads in, and monetary donations to make sure that these brave children can show everyone their struggle to overcome illness or injury.  If you bead, sew, quilt, or want to get involved in this wonderful organization, please visit their Website and click on the info for artists sections to find out how you can create beads and other items that help these brave children fight their battle.

Now, back to the Musher!
When do you stow the bib away and when do you put it back on?
We turn our bibs in Yentna Station and they are given back to us in White Mountain, but we only have to have them on after Safety, so while we carry them from White Mt on, most of us don't put them on till after Safety. 
Do most mushers take an iPod?
You bet we do! In fact, I had two just in case one died between checkpoints (since they need to be recharged rather than just replacing batteries). 

And because everyone always asks what I listen to, my tastes are very eclectic. I have everything from Hobo Jim to Adele to Maroon 5 to Kenny Chesney to Bruno Mars to Waylon Jennings on there. I also have some 'elevator' type music that I put on while trying to sleep in checkpoints that are noisy or where a lot of mushers are snoring (mushers are horrible snorers!!). 

I've tried books on the iPod, but my concentration drifts too much for that I've found. 
 What do you use to wake yourself up out there when you camp?
My GPS (which is now legal) has a great alarm on it, so that is what I use. 
 Do most mushers take a gun for the moose encounters?
Yes, especially in years like this one where moose have been an issue for almost all of us in training. I was likely the only one carrying a shotgun though. I am comfortable with it and know that it can put down a moose if need be, so it is the right choice for me. 

Nannette Morgan said...
Why only 8 dog jackets with a team of 16?
Sixteen jackets take up a lot of room. As I rarely have to jacket dogs I am pretty safe only carrying 8. I do send extra jackets to some of the checkpoints (like where I intent to 24, Unk which is very windy, and White Mt, where I know I will be staying 8 hours) and carry extra jackets for some of the windier legs (like crossing Norton Sound). 
 What are "wind bibs?"
Wind bibs are pants for Mushers

Anonymous asked - Is Olena still evil?
She sure is. Although she lives with her best friend, Moses, so she doesn't really have anyone to intimidate anymore!
Anonymous asked - How do you sanitize your dog bowls on the trail?

I really don't. I wash them out with hot water in a few checkpoints that have lots of hot water available and when I have time but that's it. 

For the record, I rinse bowls out at home about once a week in the summer and wash them about once a month. 

I believe that we tend to 'over sanitize' things and a certain amount of bacteria is good for dogs (and us). 

And now you know!!! =)


1 comment:

Dottie H said...

You referred to Smartie as "little" - can you give us an idea of size and weight for your dogs?