John, Paul, and Hugh

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What a busy day! It started early, with news that John Baker, the local favorite, would be in to Nome around 9ish. We thought we got there early enough but there was already a crowd. I took video of his arrival and then snapped a still, but by then he’d been swallowed up in the sea of media which seemed to always move in front of whatever picture I was trying to take! I don’t know that I have ever seen someone so exhausted. We went down to the mini convention center (HQ for the event) and Kevin managed to get his autograph on a couple of things, after which he disappeared out the back door we assume for some much-needed rest. It didn’t take the dogs long to bed down outside, either! Tomorrow maybe I’ll put up a picture of the dog lot.

We waited around for Ramey Smyth to arrive, and after that Kevin and I borrowed John’s snow machine and headed out onto the frozen Bering Sea where we met up with friends of theirs who had some crab pots. We got to see how that works, although (sadly) all they harvested were starfish and sea urchins. Not a problem! Fortunately there is a fresh seafood market in town.

We were out on the ice when we heard the siren signaling another musher coming in, this time Hans Gatt. We hopped on the Polaris and made it back in time to watch him come in across the ice and head into town. After Hans’ arrival there was a bit of a reprieve, so we helped Jenn Goslin fulfill a promise.

Julie Hall is a friend of ours who is currently stationed at a health center in Diomede (which is waaaay out there). She recently came back to Alaska after several months back in PA caring for a friend of hers who had malignant melanoma that spread to his brain. She stayed with him to the end, and it was his wish that some of his ashes be spread at the finish line. Julie couldn’t make it back to Nome so she sent them to her good friend (and ours) Jenn, who helped fulfill his wish. He had always wanted to come to the Iditarod and finally made it. His vantage point is so much better than ours though as he was a believer and is now in heaven! Still, he’s missed by those who loved him.

Hugh Neff came in 5th. He loves to promote literacy in schools and I’m not sure if it was this year or last, but he carried a Dr. Seuss book all 1,049 miles of the trip. I believe when his team left Anchorage this year that they were dressed in red and white, and that’s what gave Jenn the idea to dress her four boys up in Dr. Seuss outfits.

He was delighted :)

We just got in from welcoming Pete Kaiser. It’s late here and we’re tired, but we’d like to hang for the next musher, the first female of the day, Jessie Royer. She should come in around 11:30 and she’ll be followed an hour and some later by DeeDee Jonrowe. I’m not sure I’ll be conscious by then. There probably won’t be too many still awake at that hour but there will be some.

It’s been a very long day and we spent most of it outdoors which (in this weather) takes a lot out of you. We had a wonderful dinner of Alaskan king crab (for them) and scallops and shrimp (for me), but I couldn’t shake a chill I’d caught. After we ate I climbed into bed fully clothed but a half hour of that didn’t do the trick either. It took more clothes, a blanket, and a cup of hot tea to finally drive the chill out of me. Of course as soon as I got warm the siren went again, lol. I think it’s around 5 degrees out right now. It was -1 when we went out to greet the first musher this morning. And they’re telling me this is a warm spell! All righty then :)

All day I’ve been thinking about Japan. It seems crazy that we are here enjoying ourselves with friends and getting to see this event and doing new things and life is good while in Japan their lives are forever changed and many have lost everything and are cold and hungry and in danger of radiation exposure. I’ve been praying and when we get home (Lord willing) we’d like to find a way to help. Samaritan’s Purse is an organization that often gets in right away with aid. I’ll have to check it out.

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