Tuesday, January 15, 2008

January Warm Up

After weeks of severely cold weather, we have done a typically Bethel turn around. From 30 below on Sunday night we jumped to 30 above by Tuesday morning. The change came with dire predictions of a serious blizzard, complete with 50 mph winds and blowing snow causing white-out conditions.

The wind has picked up, blowing frost and snow from the trees, but no blizzard has arrived. (Photos of the same tree, at -30 and +30.) The sky has been blue for most of the day and the warmer weather has everyone smiling. I fully expected to see teenagers out in shorts and t-shirts today. I ran into a friend at the post office who said “Can you believe we’ve warmed up 60 degrees and it’s still below freezing?” Yeah, that’s Bethel for you. In a week—or three—we’ll be back to 20 below and this brief respite will be a fond memory. Most of us are hoping this weather change will stop short of going to 40 above and raining, which is always possible.

Our big sled dog race, the Kuskokwim 300, is scheduled for this coming weekend. There are 21 mushers and their teams lined up to compete, and Bethel will soon be full of visiting dogs. A hand full of teams are local; the rest will be flown in with all their gear. Dutch and I are not hosting a musher this year; our friend Aliy Zirkle is not coming for K-300, to our great disappointment. She and her husband Allen Moore competed well in the Copper Basin 300 last weekend. Allen won the race (for the third time!) and Aliy placed sixth. Their sights are now set on Iditarod (with a couple of mid-distance races beforehand to warm up) which will start the first weekend in March. I’d so love to see Aliy win the big one!

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Blogger Ruth said...

Sixty degrees is a big change! Hope you keep below freezing. Our January thaw was very messy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 5:47:00 PM  
Blogger #1 Dinosaur said...

Even though you haven't blogged as much about it this year, I remember from last year what a big deal your K-300 is; I bet you can hardly stand the excitement. Wouldn't it be cool if Aliy won the Iditarod!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 4:52:00 PM  
Blogger The Tundra PA said...

Yes, Dr. D, it would be very cool indeed! A woman has not won the Iditarod since Susan Butcher's last win in 1990. And Aliy is the only woman to ever have won the Yukon Quest. K-300 excitement is just starting to ramp up. Most of the mushers arrived today; I spent the day ferrying many dogs from the airport to host homes, and got to spend some down time chatting with Jeff King, who has won K-300 more than any other musher (as well as three Iditarods--or is it four, I've lost track). Tonight was the K-300 Benefit Concert, an evening of doggy-themed musical entertainment. Big community turnout and lots of fun. The race starts Friday evening.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 11:33:00 PM  

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