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Pennsylvania musher heads north to Alaska for her first Jr. Iditarod

Alaska Dispatch
Sea ice in Norton Bay between Unalakleet and Elim.
Stephen Nowers photo
Looking down at Rainy Pass from 9,500 feet.
Alice Rogoff photo
The shadow of a Cessna 206 whips by a dog team on the Yukon River during the 2011 Iditarod.
Stephen Nowers photo
A dog team travels in front of a band of cliffs on the Yukon River between Grayling and Eagle Island.
Stephen Nowers photo
The twists and turns of the Iditarod River are obvious from the air.
Stephen Nowers photo
Coming back to the Alaska Range, on the west side.
Alice Rogoff photo
A Talkeetna Air Taxi Beaver taxis for take-off at the Iditarod checkpoint on March 10.
Stephen Nowers photo
A teams travels on the trail between Nikolai and McGrath on March 7.
Stephen Nowers photo
Airplanes crowd the lake in front of Rainy Pass Lodge on March 7.
Stephen Nowers photo
The Port of Anchorage.
Stephen Nowers photo
A G1000 display with "synthetic vision."
Alice Rogoff photo

A far-away out-of-towner is planning to compete in Alaska's XXXVI Junior Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Taylor Steel, 16, from Hopewell, Penn., plans to join the ranks of young mushers competing this year. 

The Altoona Mirror reports that the 10th grader has been training with members of the Seavey family, specifically her peer 16-year-old 2012 Jr. Iditarod winner Conway Seavey.

Steel arrived in Alaska in August to work at the Seavey's tour kennel "Ididaride Kennel." In October Mitch Seavey offered Steele a team of her own to race and she accepted.

"They got really good dogs. They like never get tired," Steel told the Mirror. "They just want to run."

Steel became interested in racing when she was 7 or 8 years old. Over the years her interest grew. Steel's mom, Julie, thought her daughter's love of dog racing would just be a phase and eventually the young girl would move on, but Taylor never did.

Now Steel aspires to race the Iditarod when she comes of age.

The Jr. Iditarod is open to teen mushers between the ages of 14 and 17 years old. The race, scheduled for Feb. 23-24, starts in Wasilla and traverses approximately 150 miles of Alaska's Southcentral wilderness, including parts of the Iditarod trail.

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