TAKOTNA — As Iditarod musher Marcelle Fressineau traveled down the race trail Tuesday, she and her 14 sled dogs came face-to-face with two big, woolly bison and a calf.
At first, Fressineau's two lead dogs seemed interested. But then they panicked.
"I thought (the bison) would go away, seeing the dogs," said Fressineau, a 63-year-old musher born in Switzerland who now lives in Canada.
She found herself with a tangled ball of dogs and a wildlife roadblock between Rohn and Nikolai. So she grabbed her ax, ran up to the bison and started to yell.
"I said, 'Go away! Go away!' " she said, recounting the tale Thursday morning soon after she arrived in Takotna.
The bison ran into the trees.
This is Fressineau's third Iditarod, and her first encounter with bison.