One of the staples of Iditarod is the videos; interviews with mushers, faces frosted and tired with travel… commentators speculating about who’s doing what how and where they are…
…and Run Dogs Run, sheer poetry of motion and power and Alaskan wilderness in its glory.
These little shorts capture shots of teams trotting and galloping across the frozen wilds, low late winter light slanting across a landscape we can only imagine here in the warmer parts of the world.
Despite the blankets and booties and high tech sleds, we get a glimpse into a neolithic past, when humans and dogs first teamed up to hunt and to travel and to survive in places otherwise impossible for humans.
The superpowers of Dog gave us access to the world.
We traveled light and fast and warm, living off the land.
In places where a horse would sink, and find no fodder to sustain it, the dog moves over the snow, sustained on dense meaty foods one can carry on the sled… or on the odd moose that gets in the way. Pound for pound, sled dogs are far stronger than horses.
Iditarod teams, of course, don’t hunt moose (though there have been some deadly encounters with the most dangerous animal in the north). They do run light and swift, as their wolf ancestors and relatives do (Dog is merely a subspecies of Wolf), perfectly adapted to the snow and cold.
There is a dance between musher and dogs: the mere human is carried along by the speed and strength of Dog, but the human makes sure Dog gets needed rest, food, water and care.
Watching one of these videos throws us back to a time before time, before clocks and the industrial revolution and environmental disaster…
…when we forged a partnership with our oldest and most loyal companions.
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