Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Susitna 100

Last weekend Daniel finished his first 100 mile race! He set off in -24 degree temperatures and battled head winds, snow and 15 hours of darkness on his journey across frozen Alaska. The route took him through Dismal Swamp, over the Wall of Death, past Scary Tree, and then back again. Oh, and did we mention that he was man-hauling his gear in a sled?!

The race started at 9am on Saturday morning and Daniel came in just before 9pm on Sunday night. He completed the race in 35 hours and 54 minutes, finishing 4th in the Men's Foot Division. He beat some of the gnarliest athletes in Alaska, picking up a cool belt buckle in true 100-mile style.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Duct Tape Ball

The theme for the 12th annual Duct Tape Ball was 'The Mad Hatter Tea Party, A Royally Tacky Affair'. This ball shows how Alaskans can stick together to raise money for charity.

Event organizers started making the duct tape decorations in August last year. 4000 rolls of duct tape were used to create flamingo golf clubs, large mushrooms, butterflies, a rabbit hole, shrinking doors and a 6-foot caterpillar complete with hookah pipe!

Many of the guests created their entire outfits out of duct tape - who knew a duct tape ball gown could be quite so elegant?! We just went with silver duct tape accessories - an Ascot hat, evening gloves and shoes for me, and a top hat, bow tie, pocket kerchief and walking stick for Daniel. We didn't win any best dressed awards, but we had a thoroughly tacky time!


Somewhere along the Seward Highway, after Anchorage, but before Girdwood, a pipe comes out of the rockface, flowing with fresh mountain water. We're not sure why it doesn't freeze in winter, but it pours forth all year round, and we often see cars stopped along the road to fill up their water bottles with "Pure Alaskan Water". We've always commented on this pipe and so on our last trip along the Seward Highway, we pulled over to top up our army-green water bottle. A little random, but apparently very Alaskan!


When we first found out that we were moving to Alaska, we had to put up with a lot of igloo jokes. We also got asked if we'd get around by dog sled. The answer is no, but we did head back down to Seward to spend the morning dog mushing with Seavey's IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours. Three members of this family-run business compete in the Iditarod Race and all the gear we used was 100% authentic. Our sled had been in eleven Iditarods, and our lead dog, Kenya, has run in three races.

We helped to hitch up the dogs (Kenya, Riddle, Hayes, Cletus and Sprocket) to the tow line of our very own sled, before taking off down the Exit Glacier road. We took it in turns to drive the sled and ride shotgun as we mushed alongside Resurrection River, enjoying great views of Exit Glacier.

It was so much fun to drive the team. They didn't really listen to us, but we enjoyed yelling 'hup' and 'whoa' to them anyway. The sled was super comfortable and it was great fun to cruise along the trail, enjoying the scenery and seeing the dogs' smiley tongues.

We warmed up with some hot chocolate and a snack lunch in a woodstove-heated cabin near the glacier before turning around. There was some excitement when a moose ran across the road in front of us, and again when the guide overtook us a little too closely and overturned our sled! It really was another great Alaskan adventure!