Category: Welcome

Iditarod, What it takes

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One of the many things Alaska is known for is the Iditarod race, I want to share a bit of different view of the race, but first a bit of history. Dog mushers and dog teams have been part of Alaska’s history since it became a US territory. Early on patrolling and keeping the vast wilderness known as Alaska safe during WWII, this changed with the introduction of the “Iron Dog” snowmobile, which lead to the loss of the dog teams and mushing in general. In 1950’s at the centennial anniversary of Alaska being a US territory, the concept of a dog race sprung to life, hoping to keep the history of the gold rush and mail routes alive. In 1967 the first race occured being a two heat 56 mile race around Big Lake, interest was lost again after 1969. Until 1973 when a long distance race was envisioned one from Seward to Nome, all to safe dog sled history and Alaskan Husky’s the race taking almost three weeks to complete.

Nearly 100 years ago, the famous mission to deliver lifesaving serum from Nenana to Nome led by Leonhard Seppala, saved an entire community. Since March 2020, communities throughout Alaska have been faced with the COVID 19 Coronavirus pandemic. Today, Iditarod (the race) and the 1925  Serum Run have many things in common. Now, more than ever, it’s important to channel the grit and determination that allowed teams of mushers to complete this herculean effort and deliver diphtheria serum that saved countless children’s’ lives. That spirit lives on in Alaska today, and should be celebrated! 

The race is really a reconstruction of the freight route to Nome and commemorates the part that sled dogs played in the settlement of Alaska. The mushers travel from checkpoint to checkpoint much as the early freight mushers did. Although some modern dog drivers move at a pace that would have been incomprehensible to their old-time counterparts, making the trip to Nome in under ten days.

But to get to the race a musher and his team has, many hurdles to overcome and qualifications to make. Not unlike any other monumental event you may want to undertake be it run in the Boston Marathon or Climb Mt Everest, you have to show your worth and in the case of the Iditarod your dog’s worth. Mushers and teams start years in advance and have to put in their application a year in advance to even bid for the race.

Mushers must:

The Iditarod Trail International Sled Dog Race shall be a race for dog mushers meeting the entry qualifications as set forth by the Board of Directors of the Iditarod Trail Committee.

Recognizing the aptitude and experience necessary and the varying degrees of monetary support and residence locations of mushers, with due regard to the safety of mushers, the humane care and treatment of dogs and the orderly conduct of the race, the Iditarod Trail Committee shall encourage and maintain the philosophy that the race be constructed to permit as many qualified mushers as possible who wish to enter and contest the race to do so.

The object of the race is to determine which musher and dogs can cover the race in the shortest time under their own power and without aid of others. That is determined by the nose of the first dog to cross the finish line. To that end, the Iditarod Trail Committee has established these rules and policies to govern the race.

A musher is qualified to submit an entry to the Iditarod if:
• Any Iditarod or Yukon Quest Veteran with three or more consecutive scratches or withdrawals must re-qualify to the same standards as a rookie before entry will be accepted. This shall include completion of required finish standards in approved qualifier races within the past three years and a new musher reference. The musher may only use one Iditarod or Yukon Quest attempt counting as a qualifier race”
• he/she is 18 years of age as of the starting date of the Race;
• he/she has completed a prior Iditarod Race; or
• he/she has completed the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race prior to signing up for the Iditarod Race,or;
• he/she must complete two (2) 300-mile qualifiers and another approved qualifier for a total of 750 miles to be qualified. The completion requirements are that a musher must finish either within the top 75% of the field or in an elapsed time of no more than twice the time of the winner;and
• he/she during such approved qualifying races demonstrated the necessary physical and mental aptitude and preparedness, as well as the necessary wilderness and mushing skills.
• If a rookie musher completed the Iditarod as far as the Yukon River within the top 75% of the field or in an elapsed time of no more than twice the elapsed time of the lead musher at the time, he/she will be considered to have completed a 300 mile qualifier.
• Mushers must exemplify the spirit and principles of the Iditarod Trail Committee asset forth in the rules, policies, bylaws and mission statement.
Proof of Qualification:
• Except for a prior Iditarod, it is the musher’s responsibility to provide written proof of completion of qualifiers to the Iditarod prior to submitting an entry.
• Rookie mushers are also required to furnish a reference, on the form furnished by the ITC, at the time of submitting an entry. The reference must be from an Iditarod musher who is familiar with the rookie, must certify that the rookie has been informed about and
understands the physical and mental aspects of the Iditarod, as well as the wilderness and mushing skills necessary for contesting the race. The reference must be available for candid consultation by race officials and the qualifying board.

This is a partial list, (only the first page of an 18 page list of requirements and expectations, as you can see the Iditarod is for dedicated mushers and athletes, it is no wonder that it draws teams and persons from all over the world to participate and watch the race. The teams train year round and put countless hours and dedication into the race.

Our Alaskan dream is blessed to count a musher as friend and can say he has the dedication to be able to run in this race. He was a judge at a recent qualifying race and shared this video

https://www.facebook.com/1082986223/videos/10224369929850841/

It has been fun getting to know him, see his dedication and watch him follow his dream of racing, as well as his love for his team. One of the perks in staying with us, is we can arrange for you to meet up with Matt and his team and you can go home saying that you met a real mushing team and perhaps even go mushing.


Alaska Day

October 18 is considered Alaska Day. Alaska was only considered a territory of the United States after the United States purchased it from the Russian Empire in 1867. It was not recognized as a state until 1959, remaining in the territorial status all along. Alaska was officially recognized as a state on January 3, 1959 after long struggles that lasted for decades.

When thinking of Alaska you have many thoughts, 24 hour darkness, 24 hours sunshine, Snow Snow and more snow, freezing temperatures, are among all of the thoughts. I wanted to share some fun facts about Alaska, in honor of Alaska Day.

  • Alaska’s coastline, 6,640 miles, is longer than all the other states’ coastlines combined. It is the United State’s largest state, measuring 1,400 miles long and 2,700 miles wide; Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times.
  • Alaska has more inland water than any other state, 20,171 square miles.
  • Alaska’s most important revenue source is the oil and natural gas industry.
  • Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States.
  • State of Rhode Island could fit into Alaska 425 times.
  • Prudhoe Bay, on the northern Alaskan coast, is North America’s largest oil field.
  • The Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on its 800 mile journey to Valdez.
  • The fishing and seafood industry is the state’s largest private industry employer.
  • Most of America’s salmon, crab, halibut, and herring come from Alaska.
  • The term Alaska native refers to Alaska’s original inhabitants including Aleut, Eskimo and Indian groups.
  • The state motto is North to the Future.
  • Alaska has been called America’s Last Frontier.
  • Every four years Alaskans elect a Governor and a Lieutenant Governor to four-year terms.
  • The Alaska State Legislature is made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
  • Twenty senators are elected to four-year terms; forty representatives serve two-year terms.
  • Nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the Arctic Circle.
  • Alaska Highway was originally built as a military supply road during World War II.
  • State boasts the lowest population density in the nation.
  • Alaska is a geographical marvel. When a scale map of Alaska is superimposed on a map of the 48 lower states, Alaska extends from coast to coast.
  • The state’s coastline extends over 6,600 miles.
  • Alaska is the United State’s largest state and is over twice the size of Texas. Measuring from north to south the state is approximately 1,400 miles long and measuring from east to west it is 2,700 miles wide.
  • Agattu, Attu, and Kiska are the only parts of North America occupied by Japanese troops during World War II.
  • Oil is the state’s most valuable natural resource. The area includes what is thought to be the largest oil field in North America.
  • Alaska’s geographic center is 60 miles northwest of Mount McKinley.
  • Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States.
  • 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the United States are located in Alaska.
  • At 20,320 feet above sea level, Mt. McKinley, located in Alaska’s interior, is the highest point in North America.
  • Juneau is the only capital city in the United States accessible only by boat or plane.
  • The state’s largest city is Anchorage; the second largest is Fairbanks.
  • Alaska Range is the largest mountain chain in the state. It covers from the Alaska Peninsula to the Yukon Territory.
  • Juneau is the only capital city in the United States accessible only by boat or plane. It is also the largest US city covering 3,108 square miles. Los Angeles covers only 458.2 square miles.
  • More bald eagles gather along the Chilkat River than at any other place in the world.
  • There are more than 100,000 glaciers in Alaska and about 75% of all the fresh water in the state is stored as glacial ice.
  • Alaska accounts for 25% of the oil produced in the United States. Daily average yield of an oil well at full production in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay is 10,000 barrels. In the other 48 states, the average is only 11 barrels.
  • Alaska has the 16 highest peaks in the United States. Mount McKinley is the highest mountain peak in all of North America.
  • Trans-Alaska Pipeline moves up to 88,000 barrels of oil per hour on a 800 mile journey to Valdez.
  • Alaska’s name comes from the Eskimo word Alakshak, meaning great lands or peninsula.
  • There are over three million lakes in Alaska. The largest, Lake Iliamna, is the size of Connecticut.
  • Of the 20 highest mountains in the United States, 17 are in Alaska. Mount McKinley, North America’s largest mountain at 6194 m (20,320 ft), is a highlight of Denali National Park and Preserve.
  • Malaspina Glacier, at the foot of Mount Saint Elias, covers an area larger than Rhoade Island

Blueberries and Such

Adding berry picking to your fall visit to Alaska, will give you stories to take home as well as a sweet treat to enjoy. During your stay with Our Alaskan Dream, you will find that there are many, sweet treats made from the local berries. Which include fresh made Jams and Jellies added to your breakfast choices, as well as made from scratch breads for an afternoon pick me up.

Alaska berry picking is akin to beach combing. It is very addictive. If you’ve ever had a blueberry pie made with fresh blueberries than you know what I mean. Blueberries, Salmonberries, Raspberries and many other berries are all over Alaska. With nearly 50 types of berries in Alaska, most of which are edible, it is no wonder that the fruit has been a mainstay of the Alaska Native  diet for centuries. Alaska berry picking brings out Alaskans in droves to their favorite spots. In Alaska there are plenty of berries to go around and you can go picking all you want. Remember, bears also love berries and they have the right-of-way. Sing, make noise or wear bear bells so they hear you coming!

The edibility of some depends upon the maturity of the plant. Highbush cranberries are tastier before maturity, while others, like northern red currant, are tastier afterward.

Crowberries and alpine bearberries are among the berries that look tasty all the time, but, in fact, never are — at least not off the plant. Keep in mind that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t good to eat.

Crowberries, for instance, are good for pies and jellies, and bearberries can be mixed with other berries as an ‘extender’ in pies. This is worth noting because crowberries, which grow on a low, green, shrub-like plant, are often plentiful and untouched in the Anchorage area. They are also said to be best when picked after a good frost.

The Alaska berry picking season is anywhere from late August to late September. Very sweet in taste they are far superior to their cultivated cousins. Wild blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, niacin, manganese, carbohydrates, and dietary fibre. They also contain little sodium or fat. Generally higher elevation produce sweeter berries. Blueberries get very dark (near black) when they are ripe and about to fall. That is the best time to pick due to taste and sweetness.

Salmonberries ripen in early August. On moist, sunny slopes in Alaska, the Salmonberry plants can form impenetrable thickets. They are a close cousin of the raspberry. The juicy fruit, which looks like a yellow or orange blackberry, is a welcome trailside snack, though too bland for some tastes. Native Alaskans ate not only the berries but also the tender young shoots. Numerous birds and animals also feast on the fruits, which may be abundant in good years. The deep pink flowers are distinctive and may occur along with the fruits

The Raspberry is a plant that produces a tart, sweet, red composite fruit in late summer or early autumn. The fruit is not a true berry but a cluster of drupelets around a central core. Very small, but very tasty. An Alaska Berry Picking favorite.

Crowberries are common in bogs and alpine meadows. Very bland raw, but sweetened in a pie, incredible! The crowberry is similar in appearance to a blueberry. It is a light green, mat forming shrub which grows in areas similar to that of the partridgeberry. The Inuit, of which these berries are a staple, call them, “Fruit of the North”. Their flowers, male, female, or both sexes are purple-crimson, inconspicuous, and appear May to June. The season usually begins in July and lasts until the first snow. They are almost completely devoid of natural acid and their sweet flavor generally peaks after frost. Crowberries are extremely high in vitamin C, approximately twice that of blueberries.

If berry picking is on your agenda, ask us, we can direct you to some places to find the berries, (as well as beautiful hike), the books needed to make safe choices of berries, as the bells, so announce your intention while out sharing the mountain side with what is there.

alaskatrekker.com

What is for Breakfast

Our Alaskan Dream provides breakfast every morning, if you need to be up early and dash off for a hike or an adventure let us know, we will have something for you to warm, grab or a protein shake to dash off with.

If you want to chill a bit before you start your day there will be a breakfast set out to enjoy, you can eat in the dining room and socialize, or take a plate to your room as you prepare for your day.

Breakfast is served around 8 am normally but can be adjusted based on your needs. We make breakfast choices so that you can try new things or stay with the basic options. We do try to honor all dietary needs and choices you just need to let us know what your needs are.

There is something new everyday of your stay, well we try, recipes are always shared if you love what we make, so you can make it once you are home. Mrs. makes homemade peanut butter, jams, and syrups for those who are interested.

Every afternoon you will find a home made treat for social hour, as well as a cool drink to grab as you sit on the deck, out in the gazebo or rest in your room.

When you visit with us you will never go away hungry, just like home.

Dream

The dictionary defines dream as, a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal. Welcome to Our Alaskan Dream B&B, we are so excited to have you join us on making this aspiraion come to reality, with your help and support.

A bit of history on how the dream sprouted and grew from Just the smallest concept. Mr. Bill (Stick) grew up in a large family, in a small town where there was nothing but space and areas to roam. He had the concept as a young man to take off with his gun and a sack of potatoes, end up in Alaska to hunt and live off the earth. Mrs. Laure has always wanted to take care of others, she loves to cook and make people feel loved and cared for, she has a way about her that makes you just feel at peace. She fell in love with Alaska a decade ago when a friend moved to the state and shared just a little with Laure. So a year ago, Bill and Laure took the aspiration, mixed with a bit ambiton and built the dream #OurAlaskanDream

With a full year living in Alaska under their belt, their dream has grown and become a home, and a place for people to visit, stay, and feel welcome. Bill and Laure have learned a lot about the area, the people and the adventure that makes Alaska what it is known for. When you visit Our Alaskan Dream B&B, you will find a place where you feel like part of the family, welcomed, loved and cared about. With a hello and possibly a hug if needed, to afternoon socials, home made treats, quite time in the library, or daydreaming on the deck. The secret of Our Alaskan Dream is love.

So join us as we grow our dream, making friends and family along the way, you may come as strangers but hope you will leave as friends.