Reading the North

Kathleen Macknicki

Iditarod: Images of Sports

Tricia Brown (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99)

The blurb: For sled dog racing fans worldwide, the most important calendar day is the first Saturday in March, when teams convene for the start of mushing's Super Bowl -- the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Every year, as it has since 1973, this ultimate challenge begins in the state's most populated city, Anchorage, and then dives into the Alaska Bush on a historic trail that wends over mountain ranges, along frozen rivers and onto the Bering Sea ice. The finish line lies 1,000-plus miles away in Nome, beneath a giant burled archway. There, dogs and their drivers are greeted by masses of locals, vacationing fans, officials, media and other mushers who intimately know what that team has just endured. To simply finish is the goal for entrants; to win is the accomplishment of a rare few. Indeed, more people have climbed Mt. Everest than have finished the Iditarod.

Come along with Tricia Brown on this ride through time and wilderness, celebrating the history-makers and Alaska's official state sport. Brown is an avid fan and happy to volunteer or write about the race, rather than ride the runners at -40F.

Excerpt: 1973 -- Birth of The Last Great Race

The best ideas are produced during brainstorming sessions, when many people simultaneously kick around their thoughts. This was the case as the Iditarod began to take shape. In the era before social media helped ideas to go viral, Joe Redington Sr. was at the center of the network, and he became a carrier of who was saying what. He lived in Knik but spent summers working in Alaska's northwestern fishing industry. A natural-born encourager, Redington also had the jaws of a pit bull when it came to latching on to an idea, and he breathed hope.

Compiled by Kathleen Macknicki, Anchorage Daily News


Compiled by Kathleen Macknicki
Anchorage Daily News