We’ve been away for a week and I’m finally able to borrow a computer and post something! Last night we flew into Nome. It was a harrowing flight as they were experiencing a blizzard. We had a stop in Kotzebue, which is above the Arctic Circle, and they were experiencing the same storm. It was supposed to be a short stop, but we sat on the runway for almost two hours. At one point the pilot came on and told us we were going to have to head back to Anchorage. My friend Mary had come back a half hour before that and we prayed together, coming into agreement that the plane was going to fly to Nome. So I wasn’t surprised when ten minutes after that announcement they said they were going to recheck with Nome one more time. The stewardesses kept us entertained with a bit of Iditarod trivia (and I won an Alaska Airline pin for answering the first question correctly!). And a half hour later we were headed for Nome! The landing was difficult and not one I would like to repeat any time soon, but we survived, obviously!
But I skipped the first week, which we had spent in Anchorage! We got in around 1 a.m. on Friday morning and although we’d talked about hanging until our hotel room opened up we were so exhausted we went ahead and rented a room so we could crash–and we did, fully clothed on two double beds for quite a few hours. In the afternoon we got the other room and woke up enough to go to the big museum in town, which was fun. We met up with our friends from Nome that night.
The unofficial start for the Iditarod was Saturday, and we stood for two hours watching musher after musher leave the starting line. There were a lot of activities but we were still pretty tired and didn’t do much shopping or walking. We did go for a drive up into the mountains. On Sunday we headed for Alyeska. Our friends decided to take us through the two-mile hand-dug tunnel to Whittier. The weather wasn’t so great, but it was an interesting trip and one I’d probably do in the summertime. Cruise ships pull into that port, and I can see why.
Alyeska was great, although they charge way too much. The ski conditions were the BEST I have ever experienced. That said, I managed to take a hard fall on my last run of the afternoon on Monday and felt a twang in my ankle and knee. Not sure how my ankle could have gotten hurt and didn’t think much of it because it didn’t hurt after that, but five hours later as we’re sitting down at a restaurant it started to throb. A lot. By the time I got up to leave I couldn’t walk on it and discovered it had swollen considerably. When we got back to the hotel Mary and Rhonda prayed over it, and by morning it was much, much better. I chose not to go skiing that day and give it a rest, and by Thursday I was okay to ski.
I have yet to experience real Western skiing (skiing in a foot or two of powder) but was thrilled to be able to go all the way to the top of the mountain. My legs were sure burning by the time I got down though! I didn’t ski all day because I know when I get tired that’s when I fall, so I quit earlier than the others.
So here we are, settled in and getting ready for ten days of fun-filled days! Tomorrow we have been invited to go with a local guy to check his crab traps. We’ll be riding three snowmobiles (or snow machines, as they call them here) out onto the Bering Sea. We’ve had more snow, so that helps. That will come after the Nome-Golovin race. The last time we saw that there was a bad accident. I’m praying no one gets hurt this time!
The mushers are making good time, with Martin Buser out in front and Aliy Zirkle in second. I’d love to see Aliy win. We met a musher from Brazil, and it turns out he is from Recife, which is the city where Nic and Rachael Billman have their ministry, Shores of Grace! Small world :)
I hope to be able to upload some pictures at some point this weekend and post a few here, so stay tuned!