Alaskology

About the blog: Alaska is a wonderful and fascinating place. Whether its backcountry hiking, coastline kayaking or dining on a downtown deck, there truly is something for everyone. This blog picks up where the annual Daily News Visitors' Guide leaves off. The guide is published in late April, but that's just when summer fun starts heating up. Throughout the year, we hope to give readers a look at Alaska through local eyes. The blog also serves as a calendar of what's going on, a place to look for some outstanding vacation deals and other cool stuff. We invite your comments and your questions. E-mail me at alaskology@adn.com.
About me: I live in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, and I served as the special sections editor at the Anchorage Daily News for nine years. My wife and I have been Alaska residents since 2000 and never plan to leave.

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Changing seasons and reasons to smile - 10/3/2011 2:24 pm

People, animals love summer - 6/22/2011 1:13 pm

Bike to Work Week - 5/17/2011 5:05 pm

Cyclist dies ... is Alaska safe? - 4/5/2011 2:58 pm

Glorious winter fun - 12/22/2010 8:49 am

Iditarod start in Willow

Musher Gerald Sousa and his team head out on the way to Nome during Sunday's official start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.Musher Gerald Sousa and his team head out on the way to Nome during Sunday's official start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.Gina and I, along with Noah and Katelyn, spent the weekend camping in Denali State Park. (More about that in another post.)

On our way back to Anchorage, we caught the official start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Willow. Gina and I have been to the start before, but Noah and Katelyn hadn’t -- which I found shocking. It seems all Alaskans should see the start, it’s kind of like our Super Bowl or World Series.

And if you love dogs, it’s just a lot of fun. The Iditarod always creates a bit of conflict with “dog lovers” who live Outside and think that mushing is cruel to the animals. All it would take is one visit to the start of the race to realize there is nothing cruel about the Iditarod. The animal-athletes are so excited they can hardly be contained. Usually, mushers come to the start line with 16 dogs hooked up. It takes the musher, his sled and several handlers to keep the dogs from bursting down the start chute until it’s time to go. The dogs simply can’t wait to race.

A pair of Iditarod dogs rest before leaving on the 1,000-mile race. It's interesting, once the dogs get their booties on and the musher is ready to hook them to the sled, they can hardly be contained. Resting dogs is an unusual thing to see on race day.A pair of Iditarod dogs rest before leaving on the 1,000-mile race. It's interesting, once the dogs get their booties on and the musher is ready to hook them to the sled, they can hardly be contained. Resting dogs is an unusual thing to see on race day.

Some would argue that at times animals die on the trail. That is tragic. So is a friend I know who had her 4-year-old dog die of a heart attack while on a walk.

The Iditarod is a wonderful piece of Alaska. Visitors come from all over to see it, and I know why -- it’s a lot of fun.

Enjoy some of the scenes we saw on Sunday.

-- Steve

Four-time Iditarod winner Jeff King waves to fans and gives out high-5s as he heads down the trail. Look closely and note that King has two dogs in the sled. Apparently he didn't want too much power heading out of Willow.Four-time Iditarod winner Jeff King waves to fans and gives out high-5s as he heads down the trail. Look closely and note that King has two dogs in the sled. Apparently he didn't want too much power heading out of Willow.

A dog is in the start chute waiting for his its chance to run.A dog is in the start chute waiting for his its chance to run.

A huge crowd gathered at the restart of the Iditarod race on Sunday in Willow.A huge crowd gathered at the restart of the Iditarod race on Sunday in Willow.

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