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Four-time Iditarod champion, Susan Butcher, stops by the Unalakleet checkpoint
and models a shirt from St. Raymond School (Menlo Park, CA).
The only five-time Iditarod champion, Rick Swenson, was kind enough to allow
me to take his picture after awakening from a few hours of sleep and before
preparing to leave Unalakleet.
This picture of two Unalakleet children shows that they get started in
mushing at a very early age. The people of Unalakleet are Eskimos and
the population here is about 900. The main industries in this coastal
village are fishing and hunting.
This is typical of a Unalakleet street scene, where fishing boats and snow
machines are found in most front/back yards.
These next two photos show dogs being loaded into their straw-lined
transport boxes so they have a safe journey to Anchorage
via a Northern Air Cargo transport plane.
Another "dropped" dog being loaded into his box for the trip to Anchorage.
All the dogs board the plane at one time. They don't even have to show their
tickets. However, their cabin service is limited and they don't get a
"bathroom break" during their one-hour flight to Anchorage.
Shown here is Barbara Dog Drop with the team of Siberian Huskies. Who is
Barbara Dog Drop? Is that her real name? She is a dog handler (volunteer)
and is one of those colorful people who have picked up a nickname. Her
husband, John, is known as Mr. Dog Drop and it's not because he works with
dropped dogs, but because he is married to Barbara. Other lucky people have
picked up nicknames as well and for the rest of us who work with these
nicknamed people, their real names remain unknown.
This is a picture taken as our checkpoint prepares to close down. From left to
right, we have me, Doug Katchatag (our local checker), and our surprise guest,
this year's Iditarod champion Doug Swingley! Doug is not really smiling, he's wincing
due to the strong Arctic wind in our faces. He came back down the trail to consult with
another musher who was driving his team of young dogs.
We're loading our Cessna 208 (Caravan) as we prepare to leave Unalakleet and head for home.
As I sit in these Iditarod Air Force planes, I always wonder if I could land them if
the pilot were, for some reason, unable to do so. In this case ... I think not.
Thanks for stopping by the site - I hope to do it all over again in 2000!