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Uncle Godfrey’s Trip to Alaska


sled dog – a dog that pulls a sled
annual – something that happens every year
competitor – a person who takes part in a competition
musher – the driver and guide of a dog sled
blizzard – a snow storm
trail – path, route
checkpoint – a station where people have to check in
obligatory – something that must be done
necessary – something that is needed or required
equipment – all things somebody needs to do something specific, i.e. food and tools
spectator – a person who watches an event, a person in the audience
(to) honour – to reward and respect somebody or something
hero – a person who does great and brave things
epidemic – a dangerous outbreak of an illness that causes a lot of people to get sick

It’s wintertime but there is no snow. Morty and his friends are very sad because they can’t go sledging or build a snowman. They ask Uncle Godfrey to help them. While being working on a magic snow trick he is telling about the longest sled dog race in Alaska:

This winter I was in Alaska, which is in North America. Winters in Alaska are extremely cold and I had to put on very warm clothes, otherwise I would have frozen to death. However, I visited a famous sled dog race. This annual race is called Iditarod. Many Alaskans  and even international competitors took part in the race. From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher covered over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days. The teams often raced through blizzards and the strong winds sometimes caused temperatures of -75 °C. The trail lead them through tundra, forests, over frozen rivers and mountain passes.

There were about 25 checkpoints on the route where the mushers had to sign in and where they could relax. But only 3 rests were obligatory. Airplanes flew the necessary equipment, such as food for mushers and dogs, to each checkpoint. The winner of the race got a lot of money. At the end of the popular sporting event there was a great celebration for all the mushers, helpers and dogs. Of course, there were thousands of spectators, and I was one of them. 

At Central Park in New York City you can visit the statue of a famous sled dog. The statue honours about 100 sled dogs and their 20 mushers who were heroes: In 1925, they transported medicine from Nenana to Nome, which is a distance of 1085 km! The dogs raced the route in just 5 days. The medicine arrived just in time to stop a dangerous epidemic.