Tuesday 10 July 2001

July 10, 2001 Anvik to Grayling

After settling the dogs in, I tried using the phone in the checkpoint to make a call back to my friend and mentor, Jamie Nelson. I couldn't get a line to charge to a calling card and no one seemed to know how to make the satellite phone work. I was ready to scream or cry (or both) when one of the checkers graciously got the call through for me (actually, I think they were scared to be stuck in the practically deserted checkpoint with a crazy person and he figured I might leave if I got the call through!)
For those of you that know Jamie, you know that it usually takes days of trying to reach her on the phone. The chances of her actually being there the first time you call are practically NIL, but yet she picked up on the 2nd or 3rd ring. I whined, I sniveled, I complained - she tolerated none of it. DARN! She reiterated the discussion we had prior to the Race about focusing on running 'from tree to tree' instead of to Nome. She reinforced that I needed to keep doing what I had been doing leaving Shageluk, letting the dogs work through things, and be confident that they would 'come together' as a team later. Jamie told me what I needed to hear.

A couple hours later, now on an 'up' on the roller coaster of moods and emotions otherwise know as Iditarod, we hit the Yukon.

I had alittle treat in my drop bags in Anvik. Unlike most mushers, I don't carry a Walkman with me on the trail. To me they are an 'escape' from the quiet and solitude and that is one of my favorite parts about distance racing. I love having nothing but my canine companions and myself for company! However, I had thought I might be needing a 'pick me up' for the river. So I sang and danced on my runners while traveling down the Yukon to music picked out for me by my brother. I also had a great tape done up by a group of school kids I know from the Internet! They read poems and sang great songs like 'The 12 days of the Race' to the tune of 'The 12 Day of Christmas'! That was a lot of fun. Despite my amusement, I only carried the Walkman for another few checkpoints and never used it again - some old dogs are hard to teach new tricks! I was in pretty good spirits when I pulled into the cozy little village of Grayling!

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