The saddest point in our 33-Day Transformation in Alaska was arriving back to Anchorage yesterday. We left ten plus inches of snow in Nome to come back to see the melting of our beautiful snow with 40 plus degree temperatures. We were not happy.
Nome residents told us that this was the year of the snow and they had more snow than in past years. Lynne and I decided to take credit for this phenomena. We brought good luck and tons of snow to Nome.
This morning we woke up to "it's snowing" in Anchorage. Happy day. We brought snow to Anchorage. We are sad to leave our winter wonderland and return to Virginia the end of this month, but look out Virginia - we may be bringing more snow to you.
We are very happy to get back on our Celery Journey. Who knew we would miss celery juice so much? But the side effects of no celery juice are massive: Weight loss stopped, energy level reduced, and healthy lifestyle didn't feel as healthy. We aren't giving up though. We learned to hang in there, no matter what, from the mushers in the Iditarod race.
Today we are back on track. Sometimes, getting off track causes permanent, irrevocable damage. And sometimes, people benefit from others getting off track. For the Mushers who got off track during the Iditarod race, there was much sadness, broken dreams, hope lost, and in some cases near death experiences.
FIRST PLACE WINNER OF THE IDITAROD (Never off track)
31 year young: Joar Leifseth Ulsom holds the record as the fastest rookie to have ever run the Iditarod, and is one of only two mushers to place in the top 7, five times. He is from Norway, near the Arctic Circle.
Back in Norway, he started out as a young-un borrowing his neighbors two house dogs to pull him around on skis. He began dreaming about the Iditarod after watching it in movies. He started mushing in 2007, building this amazing canine team, who took him to the number one spot.
SECOND PLACE WINNER OF THE IDITAROD (Off track caused the worst result)
Nicolas Petit, 46 years young, from Girdwood, Alaska, always loved animals. He moved to Alaska in 1992, because he "loved snow." He first adopted a gorgeous Alaska Mutt named "Ugly," and began his racing adventure. He won the Fastest Time from Safety to Nome award in last year's Iditarod race, placing third in the overall race. This year he started out strong and appeared to be a shoe-in for first place, but then something happened.
The storms were terrible, and vision was impaired. Petit accidentally left the trail, and another musher passed him. When Nicolas realized what had happened, he was over an hour behind Joar Leifseth Ulsom. He never caught up, and Joar won the 2018 Iditarod race. Nicolas placed second.
IDITAROD NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE
No musher has ever died in the Iditarod but there have been some pretty scary close calls. Hugh Neff is 68 years young. He was found on the ice outside of the Bering Sea village of Golovin, sitting in his bag on his dogsled with his sleeping bag around his knees and his undergarments frozen stiff. That's the way Dave Branhold, a former dog musher found him.
Branhold, a veteran of the Iditarod races between 1995 and 1997, was enlisted to check out Neff after he failed to show up on schedule. Branhold took off on his snow machine. A global satellite tracking device showed Neff's team parked on the ice which was a bad place to camp. It wasn't easy to find him in the wind and blowing snow, but Branhold didn't give up, and Neff is safe.
EVERY MUSHER AND TEAM HAD CONSTANT MASSIVE PROBLEMS
Rick said in the past, the first couple of days was rough but then the team gets in the groove. This year's race was bad from day one, and the bad didn't let up. The weather, the many snow machines causing confusion for the dogs along the trail, the moods of the mushers, along with food and water poisoning, cast a fog of despair over the mushers and their teams.
The future looks bright for next year, with all these lessons learned. Petit is determined to win the 2019 race, and will never make this same mistake. It will be another interesting and exciting race in 2019.
The preparation and commitment that goes into the Iditarod race is massive. More so than committing to drink celery juice everyday, but for the rest of us, changing lifestyle habits is also massive. If you are going on this journey with us, don't give up. If you fall own, shake off the snow, mud or dirt, and keep going.
Be Well, Be Safe. Be Happy. Drink Celery Juice.
Love: Lynne & Deb - Lighter in Every Way
Walking on the Bering Sea ... "End of the Trail for Grub and Ale." Photographer Dr. Lisa