The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
"The Last Great Race"

On March 6, 2004, the Iditarod Race got underway, starting in downtown Anchorage. I watched the start on TV, then headed out to Far North Bicentennial Park to see if I could see some of the dogs and mushers as they went by. Just by chance, the musher wearing bib number 7 happened to approach my position beside the trail, and I snapped a couple photos. Although I didn't recognize who she was, she certainly has a stunning looking team of white Alaska huskies. I've since learned that this is Anna Bondarenko. She and her husband, Jim Lanier (who is also running the Iditarod this year), raise these dogs in a Chugiak kennel called "Northern Whites." This is the second time that Anna has run the race. She finished 53rd in 2000. Anna originally came from Russia, where she was an opera singer. She's known to sing to her dogs out on the trail. She is a teacher here in Alaska, and has lived here since 1993. It was a thrill to watch this spirited and gorgeous team go by. I wish them luck out on the trail.

Anna Bondarenko: If you ever get a chance to run the Iditarod and you don't do it, you'll always regret that.

Anna's white huskies

above: Anna Bondarenko and her team crest a little hill in Far North Bicentenial Park, Anchorage AK.
Click the photo or here for a full-screen version

below: Now you can see the back end of her team, her Idita-rider and another handler along for the ride.
Starting tomorrow (3/7), at the restart in Willow, Anna will be alone with her dogs, for over 1000 miles to Nome.

More info at the official Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race webpage

 A link to more of Mary's Alaska pictures

The Turtle Puddle (site map)