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The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen.
Winterdance is the entertaining and well written personal account of the author’s dream to run the famous Alaskan Iditarod Sled dog race. The book begins by detailing the mistakes and triumphs of training a dog team for mushing. The vivid stories of majestic and harsh landscapes take the reader far into the wilderness with Mr. Paulsen and his dogs. In the same vein as the well-known Hatchett series, survival becomes the goal. Intertwined in the challenge of survival are heartfelt connections with his dogs and hilarious descriptions of his early days of mushing. As the race date draws near, the author details the traditions of the famous race, as he prepares his team. Finally, his description of the race itself takes the reader along on one of the most challenging events in America. One can feel the majesty of the Alaska range and the terror of cliffs, river ice, and charging moose. The book is a thrilling and heartwarming account of a man’s unique relationship with his dogs and his perseverance in the face of danger. Winterdance is a classic that holds timeless truths for lovers of wilderness and dogs and will appeal to readers of any age!
Laurel Pollock and Marge Lewter, Library volunteers
The Fairbanks News- Miner describes the 2017 Iditarod as ‘’the last great race on earth.” The 2017 race was won in record time last Tuesday by Mitch Seavy, age 57, and his team of eleven dogs. His record breaking time was eight days, three hours, and forty minutes. Each year since 1973, the 1100 mile race begins in Fairbanks and ends in Nome, Alaska during the month of March.
In the seventies, dog teams in the small Alaskan Native villages were becoming replaced by snowmachines nicknamed “iron dogs”. Joe Redington, Sr lived in Alaska and spent much time using dog teams himself in his work, and thought it important to preserve the culture of sled dogs and their use in Alaska. The snow machines were not reliable and could leave one stranded, whereas dogs were always reliable and could save lives. He also thought it was important for the Iditarod Trail to be recognized as a National Historic Trail. These two factors led Joe to work to establish The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race!
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