Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media
Limited access to health care in bush Alaska makes giving birth a bit more complicated for rural pregnant women than for expectant mothers in urban areas, like Anchorage or Nome.
Every year Alaska hosts two nearly 1,000 mile sled dog races within weeks of each other -- the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. Though similar in length, racing each one is a very different experience. APRN field reporter Anne Hillman caught up with two mushers who ran both races this year soon after they crossed the Iditarod finish line in Nome.
Nome is amazing. It’s a grid of buildings that butts up against the Bering Sea and unlike most bush communities it boasts things like a movie theater, multiple bars, hotels, and restaurants, and even a Subway. For someone who’s spent multiple years in a town of about the same size but out in the Aleutians, this was shocking.
Fourteen teams have made it in to Nome. The latest musher’s to cross the finish line include Deedee Jonrowe, Ken Anderson and Sonny Linder. They arrived more than half a day after 25-year-old Dallas Seavey became the youngest musher to win the Iditarod.
Dallas Seavey has won the Iditarod. At 25, Seavey is the youngest person ever to win the race. It was a contest between him, Aliy Zirkle and Ramey Smyth that hung on how well they tuned their dog teams. And Seavey says his strategy of holding back to build his team's reserves paid off. He could then let them come to full strength at the last part of the race.
Dallas Seavey is on the final stretch to Nome. The Willow musher is likely to capture his first Iditarod win tonight. If he does, he will be the youngest winner in Iditarod history. He turned 25 while out on the trail. Behind Seavey, Aliy Zirkle and Ramey Smyth are battling for second place. Right now, GPS shows Zirkle about seven miles ahead of Smyth.
Jim Lanier was the first Iditarod musher to reach the Cripple checkpoint at just before 2 this afternoon. He has not yet taken his 24-hour layover though, so Mitch Seavey – who arrived in Cripple 20 minutes later, is leading the race. Dallas Seavey is also in Cripple. According to GPS, John Baker, Lance Mackey, Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle are close behind.
About 34 teams are taking their mandatory 24-hour break in Takotna during this year’s Iditarod sled dog race. The church and other buildings are filled with sleeping mushers. Two Rivers musher Aliy Zirkle was the first to reach the checkpoint late last night. She says so far, she hasn’t had any surprises.
I feel like it’s my first day really on the trail. Sure, I flew to Finger Lake for a 20-minute stop yesterday, but the hurried visit didn’t have the same feeling to it. We rushed out so we wouldn’t get stuck in a snow storm and only briefly experienced the lines of dogs sleeping on hay as the mushers rested. Here, it’s a whole town that’s experiencing the Iditarod, maybe for better or for worse.