Iditarod Skype Talks

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

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THANK YOU to SHELLY HENSS, our longtime friend and the best dog groomer east of the Divide!

Noggin, Chloe, and I are heading out on an East Coast talk tour. It’s great to begin the trip looking and feeling like a million bucks. Now if I can just keep Chloe from rolling… she’s part pig but 100% adorable.

Need grooming? Check out Shelly’s new shop, the Butl’RRR’ Bark in Indy. Head to 4149 Boulevard Place for a tour or call her at 463-209-1972 to set up an appointment. Tell her Noggin and Chloe sent you.

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It’s definitely school talk season. And what an awesome day we had at the Anchorage School in Anchorage, Kentucky!

Most of the other schools in the Louisville area were closed due to the sub-zero wind chill, but NOT the Anchorage School!

It was the PERFECT day to learn about dog mushing across Alaska. Now the entire school knows how to stay safe and warm when it’s so frigid your breath flash-freezes mid-air and the snow squeak-squeaks beneath your boots.

Thank you to Robin Bowman, Media Center Specialist, for inviting us! And thanks for making Chloe feel so at home up on the stage with Noggin, the Alaskan husky. It’s not every day my beloved corgi-springer mix (a.k.a. official bed-warmer) gets to share the spotlight with the sled dogs.

Mushing on to our next talk… happy trails from Karen, Noggin, and Chloe!

Yesterday, after sixteen-some adventure-filled years together, it broke our hearts to say goodbye to our beloved Romano.

Romano was a good man! He didn’t have a sneaky bone in his body (which, for an Alaskan husky, is really saying something). He was a saint among dogs. He touched the lives of so many. I like to imagine him in Heaven, hanging with all of the humans who adored him—Dwight, Brenda, Mom, Dad—as well as the long string of dogs leading him to the Heavenly smells and sights—Lolo, Borage, and his brother, Stinky, along with the rest of the Cheese Family… and the many other dogs from both the Gilliland’s pack and my own… the list goes on and on.

Thank you, Romano, for being you. 

We’ll miss you… 

Mush, Romano! Mush!

 

 

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Mrs. Christie Smith’s Second Grade Class

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Karen, Christie Smith, Isaac Smith, and Noggin

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

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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.

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Mason Whipker, a student at Northside Middle School in Columbus, IN, is dressed and ready to hit the 2018 Iditarod Trail. To his right is science teacher, Mike Reed. Thanks for having us back again—twice in one school year! Noggin and I always feel right at home in your lovely library.

MUSH!