It was a Saturday yesterday, so it was a writing day at Side Street Espresso in downtown Anchorage. But it was also the ceremonial start of Iditarod 2011, & as Side Street is on G Street just off 4th Avenue, one of the streets blocked off from traffic to provide a staging ground for a number of Iditarod teams, I got to see plenty of Iditarod action too. Indeed, there was no way to avoid it, as Side Street was jam packed with Iditarod fans warming up with Side Street coffee.
George’s board advertising the special of the day featured the heroes of every Iditarod, its dogs.
This year the team that was staging closest to Side Street, & hence which is especially represented in my photos, was the team of Hugh Neff (bib #35) of Laughing Eyes Kennel out of Tok.
Here’s some of his dogs:
Hugh Neff has partnered with the National Education Association – Alaska to promote literacy across the state through the 2nd annual Read Across Alaska program — which is why a lot of his dog handlers & supporters, and even Neff himself, donned big red & white “Cat in the Hat” hats:
Other mushers staged on G Street included Kristy Berington (bib #7), Paul Gebhardt, and Scott Janssen “The Mushin’ Mortician.” A couple of others as well, but I didn’t get everyone’s names as I was mostly just diving in & out taking photos, but was mostly hanging with my writing buddies & doing actual writing.
And then after the excitement died away, and Side Street got back to normal, we were treated to an hour and a half of music by longtime Side Street friend Tom Begich.
Here’s my Iditarod slide show. Enjoy. And good luck & safe mushing to all the Iditarod mushers & their dogs!