This weekend I will be participating in a time-honored Bethel JV tradition--the Kuskokwim 300 Dogsled Race. The seven of us will be split between two of the check points along the 300-mile route: three in Kalskag and four in Tuluksak. I am part of the Tuluksak crew and am feeling very excited to take my first trip in a small plane (I am guessing it will be a six-seater) and to spend the weekend in the village trying to learn the ropes (perhaps even very literally) of dogsled racing. Our official tasks include marking the time when the mushers arrive and depart the check point, making sure they have all the required gear, verifying that their GPS devises are functioning properly (so that fans can track their progress online), regulating the required breaks, and caring for any sled dogs that the musher or vet determines need to be left behind.
We'll be staying in the school library, although I hear from race organizers and veteran volunteers that not a lot of sleeping is going to happen. I got most of my gear together last night with the key items including: "bunny boots" (the military issue footgear for artic temperatures), handwarmers, a headlamp (a very useful birthday present from a thoughtful sister), and , perhaps most importantly, my travel-size Bodum french press that I found in the Catholic Church's rummage room.
We will have access to the internet, so I will try to provide some updates as time allows. If you are feeling curious, you can check out http://www.k300.org/core/.