September 15, 2003--Mt. McKinley

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626 627 628 629 631 632 633
634 635 636 637 638 639 640
641 642 643 643A 643B 643C 643D
644 645 646 647 648 649 650
 
653 654

 

In the morning, we had time for a couple of excursions.  The first was to the Goose Lake Kennel, which is run by champion Iditarod musher Jeff King and his wife, Donna (629-631).  Here they have 75 sled dogs and an intensive training routine including some high tech equipment (632).  The Kings have many awards to show for their efforts (642) including winning the Iditarod race.  The race takes place each March and goes from Anchorage to Nome, traversing 1,150 miles in 9-12 days using sleds pulled by up to 16 dogs.  Each year 55-75 teams compete under very strict rules.  Despite the conditions which can include temperatures of -100, only about 20 percent of the teams fail to finish.  Serious contenders must train themselves and their dogs all year round because of the harsh conditions encountered during the race.

 

A second excursion included horseback riding on the tundra.  This morning it was relatively cold and the tundra was like swamp, consisting of muck everywhere.  It was pretty to view but somewhat treacherous for the horses to traverse.  One horse slipped and fell during the excursion and the rider fell off too with the horse falling on top of her.  Fortunately, she was not hurt. Despite that problem, it was a beautiful morning to be in the saddle.

 

After the excursions, we boarded a bus and made our way to another part of the Denali Park to the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.  Along the way, we passed the Igloo Hotel (648), built years ago by a developer for a multi-million dollar cost.  Before the hotel could open, it was discovered that it had large quantities of asbestos and was promptly judged unsafe--it has never opened.

 

As we got closer to the lodge, we could once again see great views of Mt. McKinley (653).

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