This is the 5th Iditarod that I've been to! The first two, I was still living in Georgia, but the last three have been while I was living in Anchorage. It's definitely a different experience to live in Anchorage and go to the Iditarod rather than be a tourist. Last year, my husband (then fiancé!) and I were living downtown and it was so much easier to get to the ceremonial start without battling the traffic and figuring out where to park. We live on the east side of town now and we decided to see the racers out on the trail instead! We went to a park off of MLK Jr. Avenue, walked a bit into the woods, and ta-da! Sled dogs! It was so much fun to see the mushers and their teams interacting in their element. Being in downtown Anchorage amidst thousands of spectators is a bit different than being out on the trail.
We had so much fun on Saturday getting to see the dogs. After running a few errands and celebrating a birthday, we headed up to Talkeetna. We spent the night at the roadhouse there and woke up the next morning to drive an hour south to Willow. If you haven't ever been to the official start of the Iditarod in Willow, you absolutely should! The first year that my mom and I came up to see the Iditarod, we volunteered to be security at the official start. It's not a tough job and it gives you this nifty little arm band that allows you to go back to the staging area with all of the mushers and their teams. SO. COOL. Definitely worth the work later in the afternoon! We didn't volunteer for that job this year, but were still able to see all the dogs and how excited they are to get out on the trail.
Next year, I will definitely be hiking out into the woods a little bit to get the teams in the woods. There is some pretty unattractive orange fencing that prevents people from touching the dogs, but makes for some pretty intense photos! A majority of the ones in this post are from the ceremonial start. I just love the trees and being in the woods to capture these athletes. They're already in their groove at this point and the backdrop is much more natural for them. I hope you enjoy these photos and if you haven't been to the Iditarod before that you go next year and have an amazing adventure!