Knik

http://knikcp.blogspot.com/
It's nice to know my fans are cheering me on! It's beautiful here! Knik only has a little more than 250 people living here. How many times could you fit the population of Knik into the population of Anchorage? How many times could you fit the population of Knik in your town’s population?
The dogs love being out on the trail. After all, they are bred for this life and nothing makes them happier than pulling as a team. What kinds of dogs am I talking about? Alaskan malamutes of course! Want to read more about them? The American Kennel Club can fill you in at http://www.akc.org/breeds/alaskan_malamute/index.cfm
Well I’m off to Yentna – the next checkpoint. It’s a whole fifty miles away. Wish us luck!

Yentna

http://yentnacp.blogspot.com/
I’m enjoying reading the messages on the blogs. Thanks for your support! It's a lot of hills and rivers here as we move along the foothills of the mountains. Most of us are pulling with sixteen dogs or more to get through it. These are the Denali mountains – world famous for Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. It’s 20,320 tall! If you figure a story on a skyscraper is about ten feet tall, how many stories would a skyscraper have to be in order to be as tall as Mount McKinley? I’d like to know! Believe it or not it's pretty hot on us during the day, but awful cold once the sun goes down. I wonder what the weather will be like ahead? Can you check it out for me? Go to http://www.wunderground.com/education/Iditarod.asp and see what they say about weather in the checkpoints ahead. I especially need to know the humidity, wind speed, barometer reading, dew point, wind chill and visibility. Once you look over these statistics let me know what I should plan on wearing on the trail. If you email it to me at the Skwentna checkpoint I’ll read it once I get in. Thanks!

Skwentna
http://skwentnacp.blogspot.com/
Greetings from Skwentna! We traveled along the Yentna River the entire thirty-five miles. We start on the north side of the river and then cross over to the south side. It's smooth, frozen ice - perfect for sledding! There are lots of woodlands along the way, and we encounter many animals native to Alaska along the way. Want to learn more about the animals of the region? Go to http://www.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/notebook/notehome.php and read all about the small game and fur bearers that we see. Maybe your class would like to complete animal reports about them? My favorite? Why the moose, of course!
One of the most popular ways of getting around up here is on snowmobile. No, it’s not as great as a dogsled, but it will take you where you want to go! Would you like to try driving your own snowmobile? Have I got a site for you! Go to http://postopia.com/games/gamepage.aspx?sitegameId=37 and try your skill!
Me and my team are going to keep moving here. Here's what I want you and your classmates to do: Make a BIG banner for me and my dogs and have your teacher take a picture of all of you holding it and cheering. Then send the picture to my friend Mr. McKenzie so everyone can see your Iditarod spirit on the eIditarod project web site! Talk to you soon!

Finger Lake

http://fingerlakecp.blogspot.com/
Hello race fans! I hate to talk and run but we're blowing through Finger Lake and heading straight for Rainy Pass. That's where they'll make the next food drop and we can rest up while the sun is at its strongest. Here is where we will cross the Denali mountains with Mount McKinley just west of us. Rainy Pass is actually the pass through the mountains – so we’re traveling uphill all the way to the checkpoint. Finger Lake is not a town or a village, just a place on the lake. Not much reason to stay here for long!
We travel a lot faster today than they did when the race started some thirty years ago. It used to take eighteen days to cover the trail from Anchorage to Nome. Now it takes about nine days. How much faster do we cover the trail now than when the race was run thirty years ago? And if we keep getting faster at the same rate, how many days should it take to cover the trail thirty years from now? I’d like to know!
OK we’re going to head for the mountains – see you at the top!

Rainy Pass
http://rainypasscp.blogspot.com/
Hello from the top of the world! Man it is nice to stop and rest - not for too long of course. But rest is important! Up here against the cold winter winds many native peoples build igloos to shelter themselves. Want to learn how to build an igloo? Read these instructions at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/denali/extremes/survigloo.html http://www.benmeadows.com/refinfo/tips/Article1.htm and http://home.no.net/gedra/igloo_bg.htm If you have enough snow where you live, you can try out building one of your own!
Even if you don’t have enough snow on the ground to build a big igloo, you can ask your teacher for some sugar cubes or mini marshmallows to build your own mini model of an igloo right in class! If you do real well take some pictures and send them in to Mr. McKenzie to show off to the world on the eIditarod website!

Rohn

http://rohncp.blogspot.com/
It's a dangerous run from Rainy Pass to Rohn. Lots of steep hills and that awful Dalzell Gorge. It's a wonder how I never end up at the bottom of that place. I saw Cathy Walters coming in. She's this year's teacher on the trail. You can see her at http://www.iditarod.com/teachers/lessons.html Hey, wouldn't you love it if your teacher was up here for the race? What kind of supplies would your teacher need? Clothing? Food? Supplies? Make a list of everything you'd recommend. And you young ones might even want to make up a story about your teacher on the trail!
There’s also a whole ‘nother language to learn if your teacher is going to mush a team. Why there’s got to be at least three dozen special terms to know and use training your dogs so they’ll listen to you! Want to learn the terms and practice them with your teacher and friends? You can find them at http://www.iditarod.com/2-5.html We’re ready to "Line Out!" And holler for "Trail!" As we go!

Nikolai
http://cpnikolai.blogspot.com/
We've made it to Nikolai! Conditions haven't been bad. We're making good time! Nikolai is the first of many native villages along the trail. There's only bout 100 people that live here, but they sure are a helpful bunch! I hear tell there's a brown bear out there in the woods just beyond the town and if there's one thing me and my dogs don't like it's bears. Ever seen a wild bear close up? You can see some at http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/animals/mammals-animals/bears-and-pandas/bear_brown_crittercam.html They're the most powerful animals I've ever known. Just knowing there's one out there makes me fearful.
As we come out of the mountains I am going to reduce the size of my team by having some of the dogs dropped off and flown back to Anchorage where they’ll be cared for till we’re done. The fewer the dogs and supplies I carry, the faster we can go. But I have to be careful not to have too few dogs and supplies or we may not make it. How many dogs do you think I should keep on my team as we move onto the flat land of the Klondike? Why do you think so? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this!
How are those igloos coming along you're building? Send pictures soon!

McGrath

http://mcgrathcp.blogspot.com/
Thanks for writing! We're definitely stopping for a bit in McGrath. It's the last big town for quite a while. Almost 500 people live here and they've got stores and a restaurant. Are you getting the idea of what it takes to be a musher? Want to try your hand at it while you follow me in the race? Go ahead and let me know how you do: http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/iditarod/activities/index.asp?article=be_a_musher
The Inuit people are the natives of Alaska. They make unique and beautiful works of art. Have you ever seen any of it? There's a virtual museum of Inuit art that is a great introduction - you can even view it in English or in the Inuit language! Go to http://www.inuitfinearts.com/kulikgallery/index.html and check it out. Then we'll talk about making some Inuit art of your own!
See you in Takotna!