As a fifth grade student, I remember learning about the Iditarod.
My teacher was definitely a smart lady. The Iditarod is intrinsically interesting to kids — think: the many kid friendly dog-sled movies out there, especially the 1995 cartoon movie Balto depicting the heroic beginnings of the Iditarod race.
Balto is the famed dog credited with saving the Alaskan town of Nome in 1925 after its residents were stricken with Diphtheria and there was no way to get the life-saving medicine to the town except for dog sled teams.
Dog sled teams covered the 1,150 miles between Anchorage and Nome to deliver the supplies. The event is now memorialized every year by the Iditarod race (this year’s race starts March 6), where dog sled teams from all over the world come to compete.
A dog lover even without a dog at home to love, my fifth grade self was mesmerized by dreams of traversing the cold tundra on only a sled led by a team of dogs.
These are dreams I have not quite given up.
No, I have no plans to ever become seriously involved in dog sledding nor do I wish to ever partake in such an arduous journey like the Iditarod. I don’t really like cold weather and as such, I don’t think it’d be a good event for me.
Also, I don’t really want a whole team of Huskies. Maybe a Malamute or two, perhaps one Husky, but definitely not a whole team of them.
I do tend to think that one day, though, if I can just make my dreams of living on a large piece of property in Northern Michigan come true (isn’t that everyone’s dream around here?), I can teach my own eclectic group of dogs to pull me on a sled.
Perhaps it would be better to say my one or two Malamutes and Husky can teach the rest of my dogs to pull me on a sled.
Anyway, I just think it’d be fun to ride around on a sled being pulled by my dogs and at the same time, it’d probably be great exercise and a great outlet for the dogs.
But you’ve got to start somewhere and I haven’t ever even seen a real dog sled in person before.
That’s why you might just find me this weekend in downtown Rochester at E. Third and Water Streets, checking the dog sled demonstrations and maybe even taking a ride on a dog sled.
The demonstration is part of this weekend’s Fire & Ice Winter Festival. The festival is taking place Friday and Saturday but the dog sled teams will be out only from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday.
A coworker told me he took a ride on one of the dog sleds one year and it was pretty cool. I can only imagine and I hope to find out!
Read a story all about the Fire & Ice Festival by clicking here. To visit the county's Web site for more information about the festival, click here.