By March 14, 2016 2 Comments Read More →

It’s Very SADD !

DSC00207You would think you would be ‘safe’ from a drunk driver if you were in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, and, of course, you would be wrong.

This week, Jeff King, four time Iditarod winner, was hit by a  snowmobile drunk driver in the middle of his race.  One of his beloved dogs was killed and two others injured.  He estimated the speed of the snowmobile at about 100 mph and said it missed the sled by inches.  He administered first aid to his dogs, re-rigged his sled, loaded his injured dogs and rushed the next town.  The two injured dogs are said to be recovering.

As you probably know, the annual Iditarod race occurs in March and is 1150 miles long through the wilderness from Anchorage to Nome. The musher and the dogs must race to survive on their own.

grpwithpuppyWe visited King’s Husky Homeland operations in  Alaska  just outside Denali National Park several years ago.  I think it was the highlight of our Alaskan trip.  The minute we stepped off the bus, we were handed a baby husky to “socialize”, everyone was  cuddling and baby-talking to their puppy –  actually it was a socializing event for us tired tourists also.

His daughter took us to the arena and gave us the dogs’ stories as well as her story of growing up on this “ranch”.

We were gathered around an arena with dog houses in a circle.  The dogs were either sitting on top of their house or hanging out outside.

(They are chained to their houses to avoid any wild trysts which might occur.)

DSC00221All of a sudden and all at once, every single dog began to jump and bark.  The daughter laughed, and said, “My Dad is somewhere close”.  Sure enough a gray haired man had walked into the crowd and was leaning against the fence.

As there was very little snow when we were there,  the dogs were put in their traces to pull an ATV- which they did very, very easily.    They all were jumping and yapping as Jeff King went around the ring to select his team.  They were so excited, so happy.  Literally jumping for joy, saying, “Pick me, pick me!”  They do love their work!

Jeff King is a very interesting person himself, the oldest musher to ever compete in the Iditarod, and he has won more mushing races, including the Iditarod, than any other person. He also is the author of Cold Hands Warm Hearts about his dogs.

We need a MADD chapter, maybe SADD – Snowmobilers Against Drunk Driving – as it does seem that no place on our earth is truly safe from drunk drivers.


Ben had a beloved pet, a gray squirrel called Mungo, and he took Mungo on many of his travels.  When Mungo was killed by a shepherd’s dog,  Ben wrote a letter to a friend noting “few squirrels were better accomplished; for he had a good education, had traveled far, and seen much of the world.”


Posted in: Comments, Travel Life

About the Author:

I am an observer of our interesting world , sharing my passions and my outrages, and thinking of Incredible Ben, his amazing blending of a social and civic life with superb common sense.

2 Comments on "It’s Very SADD !"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Dawn Engler says:

    Thanks for shooting me the link on Twitter to this post-Ben. I had a very emotional day when this happened. All of Iditarod was in shock. I cried with Jeff over Nash, I angered with Aliy Zirkle (also attacked by same drunk idiot), and I have yet to be able to write about it. I volunteered at the Iditarod this year and worked the dropped dog lot in Anchorage. I was blessed to be able to spend some time with and love on, Banjo, one of the other two injured dogs before he went home with Jeff’s daughter.
    One note for you…Jim Lanier was the oldest musher on the trail this year at 75 years young. He had to scratch after breaking his collarbone, but he’s started 19 Iditarods, finishing 16 of them!

  2. Saira says:

    What a great picture! I’m so ready for self-driving cars–it seems like the only solution to drunk drivers. Maybe we’ll see self-driving snowmobiles too? Though that might take the fun out of it….

Post a Comment

nine + = twelve