With dogs' breath fogging the 30-below zero air at their knees, 71 Idi-tarod mushers steamed their way down the frozen Chena River in Fair-banks on March 6. Upstream, just a few miles behind them, 500 ducks were surviving in open water.
In early March up on the frozen Arctic Coastal Plain, as the wind sculpts snow into drifts, it’s hard to tell northern lakes from surround-ing tundra. But lurking deep beneath that flat white world are toothy predators as long as your arm.
When they launch, the four rockets now pointed northward from Poker Flat Research Range will add to the 345 that have arced over northern Alaska du-ring the past 48 years. Recently, Chuck Deehr remembered number one.