Thursday, August 13, 2009

Whittier, Anchorage and Willow, Alaska

Hi Everyone,

We are the road again! The scenery on the drive from Seward to Whittier is just breathtaking.

First, we went back to Whittier because, again, it is an awesome place -- the most beautiful campgrounds we've ever seen -- everything paved, private, large sites, and surrounded by high mountains with snow and glaciers all around. Plus, it has the most wonderful bike/walking paths though the woods and along the waters that you can find anywhere.

We stayed two days and took a long bike ride one of the days. We saw salmon spawning, rode up close to the glaciers, took a look at what was left of the iceberg in the water (see earlier picture below of all the icebergs we saw the first time we were in Whittier), and basically hoped we wouldn't run into a bear (as they were in the area).

Then, at night, Jerry built a fire. Here is also where he decided to document the wonders of the mosquito zapper. See video below.

The weather was in the low 60s most of the time, and overcast with a few sprinkles.

From Whittier, we drove to Anchorage (our third time in Anchorage). We met with a Toastmaster friend from our Central Coast area and all went out for Mexican dinner. It really taste good after all the halibut we've been eating.

Unfortunately, the RV parks in Anchorage (and there are three of them) are just stopping off places as we move on to other more scenic parks. Here is a picture of our neighbor in the Anchorage RV park last night.
Today (Thursday, August 13), we drove to Willow and are at a very neat RV park right on a river. After salmon spawn, the female fish do not eat and eventually die. Guess that is what is happening at the river right in front of our RV.
We expect to move again tomorrow, as we continue to make our way to Denali National Park.
Until next time (which may be awhile if we don't get internet connection), enjoy the life you love.
As always -- Jerry and Mary

1 comment:

Sled Dog Action Coalition said...

Dear Jerry and Mary,

Your photos are absolutely beautiful! But I'm not writing just to tell you that. In regard to Alaska, I want you to know that the Iditarod has a long, well-documented history of dog deaths, illnesses and injuries. Six dogs died in the 2009 Iditarod. Two dogs on Dr. Lou Packer's team froze to death in the brutally cold winds. For the dogs, the Iditarod is a bottomless pit of suffering. What happens to the dogs during the race includes death, paralysis, frostbite (where it hurts the most!), bleeding ulcers, bloody diarrhea, lung damage, pneumonia, ruptured discs, viral diseases, broken bones, torn muscles and tendons and sprains. At least 142 dogs have died in the race. No one knows how many dogs die after this tortuous ordeal or during training. For more facts about the Iditarod, visit the Sled Dog Action Coalition website, .

On average, 52 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line. According to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those who do finish, 81 percent have lung damage. A report published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine said that 61 percent of the dogs who complete the Iditarod have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

Iditarod dog kennels are puppy mills. Mushers breed large numbers of dogs and routinely kill unwanted ones, including puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who are unwanted for any reason, including those who have outlived their usefulness, are killed with a shot to the head, dragged, drowned or clubbed to death. "Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are dragged to death in harnesses......" wrote former Iditarod dog handler Mike Cranford in an article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper.

Dog beatings and whippings are common. During the 2007 Iditarod, eyewitnesses reported that musher Ramy Brooks kicked, punched and beat his dogs with a ski pole and a chain. Jim Welch says in his book Speed Mushing Manual, "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common training device in use among dog mushers..."

Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 column in USA Today, "He [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight. Skinning them to make mittens.. Or dragging them to their death."

During the race, veterinarians do not give the dogs physical exams at every checkpoint. Mushers speed through many checkpoints, so the dogs get the briefest visual checks, if that. Instead of pulling sick dogs from the race, veterinarians frequently give them massive doses of antibiotics to keep them running.

Most Iditarod dogs are forced to live at the end of a chain when they aren't hauling people around. It has been reported that dogs who don't make the main team are never taken off-chain. Chained dogs have been attacked by wolves, bears and other animals. Old and arthritic dogs suffer terrible pain in the blistering cold.

Margery Glickman
Sled Dog Action Coalition,