Willow musher Karin Hendrickson spent her first full day back at home on Friday, getting reacquainted with her dogs.
After spending more than a week in a hospital bed, Hendrickson said it felt good to be able to heal at home.
“I flew a long ways so every muscle in my body is sore,” she said. “I have bruises on top of bruises and it takes time, so I have to be patient.”
Hendrickson broke three vertebrae when her team was hit by a car while training on a trail beside the road a week ago Tuesday. She left the hospital with a special body brace she’ll have to wear both night and day for several months. Hendrickson said her patience will be tested; she isn’t used to sitting on the sidelines.
“I feel like there’s stuff that needs to be done but I have to sit back and let others do it,” she said. “That’s nearly impossible for me. The next few months are going to be really hard for me.”
Hendrickson’s injuries mean she will have to sit out the Iditarod this year. It would have been her seventh run in the Last Great Race.
They also won’t allow her to work her regular full-time job for the State of Alaska, overseeing the pesticide program in Wasilla.
She said she was surprised at how many people came to her aid when they realized she would have trouble feeding her dogs, including one organization that helped coordinate a delivery of 2,000 pounds of ground salmon.
“Salmon is amazing, it’s full of good fats and oils and they love it, so it is really awesome to have fish to feed them,” Hendrickson
Hendrickson said she was sad to sit out the race but glad that her dogs will still get to go. Fellow musher and friend Byron Bearss has volunteered to take her team down the trail. Bearss last ran the Iditarod in 2006.