Alaska

Dog mushing is all about knowing when to run and when to rest.

NOW is the time to stay put, tending to those we love while keeping safe and healthy those we’ll never even meet.

We’re all on the same trail—we must care for each other.

Since the first known case of coronavirus was announced on January 21st in Washington state, I’ve been closely watching the news to see how this all would unfold. In an attempt to make an informed decision about my travels around the country, I searched for any and all information on the coronavirus. It was an extremely frustrating process. So little could be found. Our country’s leaders were acting like nothing was happening. But it worried me.

On Sunday, March 8th as mushers were packing sleds and harnessing dogs, setting off on their 1000-mile Iditarod journeys to Nome, I began emailing this letter to schools and libraries.

Dear Teachers, Principals, and Librarians,

I am sorry to have to write this letter, but I wanted to give both schools and public libraries as much of an advance warning as possible. After much thought and consideration of all of the variables involved in a 40-day talk tour throughout the states of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts during the ever-changing COVID-19 outbreak, I have decided it would be best to cancel my March/April 2020 trip. It took me 6 months of hard work to plan and schedule this trip. I am heartbroken about it!

In order to keep my prices as low as possible for schools and public libraries while still covering my own high travel costs (Airbnb rentals and hotels, truck maintenance, gasoline, etc.), I always need to book as many talks as possible. This means that my upcoming travel itinerary has my dogs and me visiting schools and public libraries in over 35 different towns and cities, the majority of them in New York state.

Even before New York declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 outbreak, I was closely monitoring the news, trying to obtain as much information as possible on the ever-evolving situation. Unfortunately, the lack of information and testing makes it difficult for the public to know how extensive this outbreak truly is. To be on the safe side, I feel it is best to suspend the upcoming tour. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. The dogs and I are just as disappointed as you are! It was a difficult decision to have to make, but I feel it is the right one at the moment.

I do want to offer options for still having your talk(s) at our scheduled time(s) via SKYPE and/or rescheduling talks for Summer 2020 or Fall 2020, depending on when it is safe for travel. Please refer to these options listed below and let me know if any of them interest you. If you have other thoughts or ideas, please share them with me!

***For space reasons, I have omitted the options from this blog post. Email me at mymusher at gmail.com if you are interested.

Again, I apologize. We’re so sad to not be coming your way in the next few weeks and months but, like a musher running her dog team down the Iditarod Trail, we all must adapt to the unfamiliar terrain before us. My main concern is the health of all. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been honored to visit both small and large communities across this country to share my beloved dogs and stories of the Iditarod Trail with fans of all ages. We look forward to continuing this in the future!

Please let me know you’ve received this message. And then we can talk about your own ideas and needs.

Thank you!

Karen Land, Noggin, and Chloe

Saturday + your local public library + Noggin, the sled dog = FUN

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shelby County Public Library in Shelbyville, Indiana rocks! Last Saturday, some serious Iditarod fans joined us to talk trail. Thanks for having us!

 

 

2004Racestart

Contact Noggin and Karen at mymusher@yahoo.com (please put “Iditarod” in the subject line) to reserve your space on their 2019 Dog Mushing Talk Tour.

Think you live too far off the trail? It never hurts to ask! Karen, Noggin, and Chloe are ready for a road trip! Mush!

IMG_2727 (1)

Mrs. Christie Smith’s Second Grade Class

IMG_2737

Karen, Christie Smith, Isaac Smith, and Noggin

IMG_2723

Karen, Keith Grant (ICES Principal), Dr Tim Edsell (Superintendent of Indian Creek Schools), and Noggin

IMG_0413

Karen and Dr. Tim Edsell (somewhere under all of those layers!)

After reminiscing with retired second grade teacher, Judy Misiniec, and current-day second grade teacher, Christie Smith, we figured out that I’ve been visiting Indian Creek Elementary in Trafalgar, Indiana for at least 16 years! Judy was a teacher devoted to bringing outdoor adventure into her classroom through the Last Great Race curriculum, and her passion for the annual Iditarod unit wore off on other great teachers at her school. Every year I look forward to returning to Trafalgar to see my friends and bring a little of that outdoor mushing magic indoors to the students. This is Noggin’s second year visiting Trafalgar but she already considers it home.

IMG_3857IMG_3847IMG_3851IMG_3845 (1)IMG_3855

Thank you, Tracey Collier—an awesome Iditarod teacher and longtime fan of dog mushing—for inviting us to Morristown Elementary! Noggin and I had great fun with your third grade class. Enjoy following the race!

Pack your sled and hook up your dogs! Iditarod starts Saturday, March 3rd …

IMG_3261

The 1000-mile Yukon Quest is happening RIGHT NOW! Follow the race at www.yukonquest.com. Everyone always asks me if I’ll ever run the Iditarod again—this is the race I’d love to experience at some point in my life. BIG country, great people, and challenging terrain with a “smaller” 14-dog team (Iditarod is a 16-dog team)—I’ve always found the Yukon Quest intriguing. The Quest website has beautiful videos from past races. Click on their Youtube channel to live a little bit of the trail yourself …

The Iditarod starts on March 3, 2018. Follow the race at www.iditarod.com. Teachers click on the EDUCATION page to follow the Teacher on the Trail, watch videos, and access  race resources. Throughout the race, I also frequent the Anchorage Daily News website (www.adn.com) for free daily updates and beautiful photography.

I still have some dates open for Iditarod school or public library talks at your location OR via Skype. Contact me now (mymusher at Yahoo dot com) to set a date!

DSC_7932

DSC_7907