History of the Iditarod
Dog Sledding became very popular in 1925, when a diphtheria outbreak occurred. This outbreak started in a small village known as Nome, Alaska. The small native community had very little immunity and no supply of antibiotics. However, serum was available in Anchorage, Alaska from the Alaska Railroad Hospital. The only problem with this was that the serum had to be transported 670 miles threw ice and snow. The only two airplanes in Fairbanks were both down for the winter due to the fact that they were both open cockpit planes. If planes had been available, the risk of a plane crash and loss of the only serum was way too high. The only other way to transport the twenty pounds of medication was by train. The train brought the serum to Nenana, Alaska, from there, 22 dog sled teams carried the serum the rest of the way. It took the teams approximately five and a half days to transport. the race still occurs today and is now know as the Iditarod.
Book: Frommer’s Alaska 2004 With the Lowdown on Alaska Cruises (2002). (pg. 230-264) Wiley Publishing, Inc. Hoboken, New Jersey
Dog Mushing in Alaska
Dog mushing is much more than just a way of transportation, it has developed into a recreational sport as well as a hobby. Owning a team of dog is a lot of work, owners of these dogs have to feed, care for, and exercise more than a dozen dogs a day. Many places in Alaska offer sled dog rides and tours. Fairbanks, Alaska is just one of the many places to enjoy the rush of the running dogs because of the vast lands and wide open spaces. One place that had great reviews was a small lodge called Sun Dog, there they will teach you how to drive a team of dogs, they also offer summer sled dog rides. When the dogs run in the summer they use a sled with wheels on the bottom. Prices for these rides range any where from $39 dollars all the way to 12 hour tours for $349 dollars.