Text by Tetsuhiko Endo
Bugs is a five-year-old Alaskan and loves to run in the snow. Ditto for Lady, a four-year-old girl from Norway. In fact, you could probably say the same for all the dogs that are going to be lining up on the starting line of the Iditarod this Saturday.
The 1,150-mile dogsled race, sometimes called “the last great race,” will begin in Anchorage and guide its intrepid competitors across Alaska’s frozen tundra and lonely, windswept coast, all the way to Nome, which is located on the Bering Sea.
The trail they follow began as a supply route linking coastal towns to the mining camps in the interior of the state. During the 1925 Diptheria epidemic in Nome, the route was used by burley, bearded men with armies of dogs to ferry life-saving medication into the isolated town.
Luckily, this Saturday's competitors won’t have to worry about keeping anyone else alive, but with blinding winds, long nights, and temperatures that reach zero on the balmier days, they will be plenty busy worrying about the survival of their fingers and toes. Check out the course, race history videos, discussion forms, and of course, puppy profiles on the even website.
- Nat Geo Expeditions