State capital of Alaska and improbably only accessible by air or sea!  During the gold rush it was the landing spot for those seeking to dig up a buck in the hills inland so due to the fluctuating population it became the capital.  There was a plan to move the capital to Anchorage but there is no money to fund the relocation.

Two highlights today, one planned, the other happenstance.  Our planned visit to a dog mushing location to meet some Alaskan huskies which have less fur than the Siberian version.  There are three teams harnessed up, each team has a six seater buggy at the rear and the musher rides at the back of the buggy.  We climb aboard and set off round the loops about three times covering about a mile.  The dogs are not going flat out but the weight of the buggy is much more than the traditional musher sled.

There is then an opportunity to pet and fuss the dogs.  One of them flops on Jackie’s foot for a belly rub.  Later by the time we depart and new visitors have arrived the dogs are clearly keen to do it all again.

We move onto a lecture on the history of the Iditarod which was largely invented to prevent dog sledding disappearing from the planet.  Our musher runs around 40 dogs and whilst breeding stopped during covid it is now in progress again and the tourists are back in numbers.  The talk covers the huge changes in safety, vet checks and dog wear (including boots) which have been implemented over the years, along with required breaks and these days gps trackers on each sled!

There is also mention of the Nome run.  There was a diphtheria outbreak in Nome in 1925 and only the mail mushers could get supplies of drugs delivered in highly adverse weather conditions.  The story is unknown in the UK but is well told by Wikipedia.  An amazing feat of endurance by dogs and mushers to deliver the drugs.

Whilst there is no longer a need for mushers to move mail around Alaska the race and centres such as this ensure there is reason to keep the skills alive and sustain the breed.