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The Iditarod and The Iditarod Trail. By Mrs. Burrows. What is the Iditarod?. The Iditarod is a dog sled race that takes place in Alaska, U.S.A. every year. Look at the map. You can see Alaska is in the far north beside the territory of the Yukon.

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The Iditarod and The Iditarod Trail

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The iditarod and the iditarod trail

The Iditarod and

The Iditarod Trail

By Mrs. Burrows


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

What is the Iditarod?

The Iditarod is a dog sled race that takes place in Alaska, U.S.A. every year.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Look at the map. You can see Alaska is in the far north beside the territory of the Yukon.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

The route changes every other year. On even years, the race follows the northern route. On odd numbered years, the race follows the southern route.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

You can see the 2 routes on this map. The red route is the northern route used on even numbered years. The blue detour is the route they take on odd numbered years.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Click on the link below to see the route for this year.

http://www.iditarod.com/images/route_download.jpg


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

This race is over 1851 kilometres long. Mushers travel over some of the roughest, but most magnificent land in the world.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

It is a dangerous race so mushers and their dogs must be prepared and knowledgeable in order to stay safe. Mushers and their dog teams must navigate jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, forests and tundra.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

The weather also makes this race dangerous. Temperatures can drop far below zero, and winds can cause a complete loss of visibility. The windy coast can be freezing cold, and make it very difficult to keep your team on track.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

There are also hazards of overflow on the rivers, long hours of darkness and treacherous, steep climbs.

With a partner, complete the first 2 activities on your worksheet.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team and their musher cover over 1851 kilometres in 10 to 17 days.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

What is the Iditarod Trail?

The Iditarod Trail was developed and first used by the First Nations people. Then trappers and gold diggers who came to Alaska over 100 years ago used it as well.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

The Gold Rush

Have you ever heard of ‘The Gold Rush’? Back in the late 1800s times were tough for North Americans. Many did not have jobs because several businesses in the Untied States had gone bankrupt.

Seattle, Washington, buzzed with excitement on July 17, 1897. Word had come over the telegraph wires two days earlier that the S.S. Portland was heading into Puget Sound from St. Michael, Alaska, with more than a ton of gold in her hold. The gold strike had begun quietly on August 17, 1896, when three miners found gold in the Klondike River, a tributary of the Yukon. On board the Portland were 68 miners and their stores of gold.

nytstore.com

Excited by the promise of catching a glimpse of gold, 5 000 people came down to the docks to see the miners and their treasure. The crowd was not disappointed. As the miners made their way down the gangplank, they hired spectators to help unload their gold. In a matter of hours, Seattle was swept with a case of gold fever. The great Klondike Gold Rush in Yukon Territory was on, as people dropped everything to head for the gold fields. http://www.nps.gov/akso/ParkWise/Teachers/TeacherResources.htm


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Then gold was discovered in the southeast part of Alaska. About 100 000 people went to Alaska in hope of becoming rich.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Thousands left Seattle, Washington hoping to ‘strike it rich’!


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Skagway and Dyea, Alaska, located 1000 kilometres south of the gold fields, were the closest salt water ports to the Klondike. They soon became "boom towns" that catered to miners. The most popular routes to the Klondike began here: from Skagway, stampeders took the White Pass and from Dyea they took the Chilkoot Pass.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

The forty-two km trail over Chilkoot Pass was steep and hazardous. Most stampeders who gave up did so attempting to cross the mountains.

In the winter, stampeders struggled in blizzards, snow, frigid temperatures, and avalanches. The trail shot up about 1 000 feet in the final half mile. Stampeders climbed the "golden staircase" ; 1 500 steps cut in the snow and ice, and used a guide rope for support. www.lib.washington.edu


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Each person had to bring a year’s supply of food and equipment with them. Most loads weighed about 450 kilograms! These ‘prospectors’ had to make many trips to carry all their supplies through dangerous mountain passes.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Conditions on the White Pass trail were dreadful. The route was narrow, steep, slick and overcrowded. Many pack animals died.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Those who survived the hardships established mining towns and panned for gold. The Iditarod Trail is the easiest route through Alaska and many mining towns were built along this trail.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

People looking to get rich, traveled as far as Nome, which is on the northwest edge of Alaska. That is where the Iditarod Trail ends.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

The Iditarod Trail is now a National Historic Trail. In the olden days this route was first used to deliver mail, supplies, bring the preacher to communities and to send out furs and gold. All of this was done in the winter by dog sled.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

There is another reason the Iditarod Trail is famous. In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail became a life saving highway. Something terrible happened in 1925 in Nome.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Nome’s doctor, Dr. Welch, examined two Eskimo children who were very, very sick with sore throats. Dr. Welch knew they had diphtheria. Diphtheria is a very contagious and fatal disease.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

He knew they had to get the diphtheria antitoxin to Nome as soon as possible or there would be a terrible epidemic! The serum was rushed to the Alaska Railroad train, which carried it to Nenana. There, twenty dog mushers were alerted and took the antidote all the way from Nenana to Nome.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

The mushers had to race against time or many would die! The serum arrived in Nome in time to save the lives of dozens and dozens of children.

Leonhard Seppala was a Norwegian man who helped get the serum to Nome in 1925.

www.baltostruestory.com

This is Balto, a lead dog who helped get the serum to Nome.


The iditarod and the iditarod trail

Today that serum run is memorialized in the annual 1851 kilometres Iditarod dog sled race that ends in Nome.


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