Anvik welcomes Iditarod mushers for first time in five years
Mushers are reaching the point in the 2018 Iditarod race where they’re now passing through towns that haven’t been on the route the last several years.
Anvik, a town of fewer than 100 people, is one of them.
Normally, the Iditarod route passes through Anvik once every other year. But with warmer weather, this is the first time in five years that mushers and their dogs are in town.
The sled dogs are a rare sight for some, and a first for others-- like 5-year-old Dalisha Huntington. The last time the race ran through Anvik was in 2013-- before she was born.
"Hi, doggies," Dalisha called out to Joar Ulsom's pups as they pulled into the checkpoint Friday morning. "These dogs, um, talk funny," she added.
Dog sledding is all new to her, but the adults here say things haven’t been the same since the last race left.
"It was a little quiet during this time, but we understood it was better for the mushers and the dogs to go the other route," said Dalisha's father, Floyd Huntington.
"We missed it quite a bit, so it’s good to have it back," Jay Jensen, a long-time resident in town said.
"It was like boring and quiet," added Susan Kruger, who says she's waited five years to see her favorite musher, DeeDee Jonrowe, again.
"We’ve been waiting for her and we always meet her river when she comes up," Kruger said.
Jonrowe scratched from the race earlier this week.
"She’s probably an inspiration to the women and girls and kids. All the kids like her and they used to make signs for her and put them on the river. And she’s pink," Kruger said.
It’s all white on the trail now-- a good sign for the dogs-- which make a special treat for some of the kids, too.
The rising temperatures in Anvik are causing some people here to miss out on more than just mushers. Thin ice on the frozen Yukon River has made it dangerous to cross by snow machine for trapping and hunting.
"In the years I’ve been out here, we’ve lost a few people due to that. Due to going into overflow, and it’s very dangerous out here when you have warm weather," said Jensen, adding that he's missed out on nearly the entire trapping season this year because of the weather.
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