On the first Saturday in March, the mood in Anchorage, Alaska, is best expressed by a pack of huskies. More than 60 dogsled teams, each composed of 12 to 16 agile canines, assemble along Fourth Avenue for the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The dogs bark, bounce, and shake their heads as the loudspeaker crackles out countdowns: “3. 2. 1. Go!” For as long as two weeks, the race plays out across 1,000 miles as a tribute to the legendary 1925 dogsled journey that delivered medicine to the diphtheria-stricken town of Nome. Those who want to get closer to the mushers should follow the race to checkpoints such as Winterlake Lodge, about an hour’s flight from Anchorage. Here, competitors rest and eat a gourmet meal before continuing toward the finish line in Nome. Travelers can dogsled with lodge guides in the backcountry to get a taste of what it’s like to traverse the wilderness by sled.
The start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will be held on March 2, 2013. Book a cabin at Winterlake Lodge six months to a year in advance to stay during the Iditarod.
From $1,030 per night, including meals, dog sledding, and flight from Anchorage. (907) 274-2710. This appeared in the March/April 2013 issue.