Due to thinner than normal ice, the 2014 start was not on the Chena River as it usually is, but a block away, on Second Avenue. The street was covered with snow which had been stashed from the winter’s parking lot plowings, much like Fourth Avenue in Anchorage is covered each March for the Iditarod. After so many years of starting down on the wide open river, the tall buildings gave the start a somewhat surrealistic canyon-like feeling, and there were interesting juxtapositions of dog trucks and traffic signals and gift shops. The snow was deep and made walking a bit sluggish, but most people were moving slowly anyway, snapping photos and visiting with friends.
The mood was jovial and excited, and the 15-above temperatures made it a pleasant and fun day for everyone. After leaving the start chute with their tag sled riders the teams made their way down Second Avenue to the Wendell Street Bridge, where they dropped down onto the river ice. Officials felt the ice was sufficient for the teams to travel on, but did not want to risk the weight of 2,000 to 3,000 people at the start chute. In the photos below, you can hover over the photos to see the captions, or just click on any one for a larger version. If you find any photos you’d like to have the full-resolution version of just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – no charge, no strings, just sharing the love!