Filed under: Iditarod! — iditalearn2010 @ 6:11 pm

img_01662thumbnailWe arrived safely in Nikolai to a warm welcome from the students and staff.

Lance Mackay who is currently in first place was sound asleep in a private room in the gym.

Lance has a broken runner on his sled and is trying to buy an extra sled here in Nikolai that belonged to Dee Dee Jonrowe.

His left sled runner shattered coming through the mountains and it looks like he tried to repair it with a similarlily shattered old cross country ski. His dogs looked wonderful–the vet told me (gary) that he was very impressed with the good condition of Lance’s dogs.

Students are so excited to meet all the new people in their village.img_01672thumbnail

Moose stew is being served for dinner. Grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. The students are raising money to take a trip to Florida next year by selling meals and crafts to all the media and visitors.

The community of Nikolai is a small community which lives a subsistance life style. The main diet is moose and salmon..

A gallon of milk costs 10.00. Milk is either powdered or boxed. Frozen pizza is 10.00. The best way to get groceries is by mail.

I’m off to see who has arrived at the checkpoint. I will be at Takotna tomorrow.

Math in Surprising Places!

Filed under: Iditarod! — iditalearn2010 @ 12:53 pm

off-we-gothumbnailFirst-off, we’re still in Wasilla. The day yesterday was beautiful, and we took off in the plane, but it was really windy and that can be tricky for flying and landing the bush plane. So for safely reasons, we came back to the Willow airport and will try again Tuesday.

On to math!

weighing-inthumbnailWe had to pack the plane yesterday. Imagine all our cold weather things: sleeping bags, big boots, gas stove, survival bag, tent, computer stuff…. Three people’s things had to fit into a space the size of a car trunk!

We also had to stay under 680 pounds for all the things and people (not counting the pilot–his weight is calculated along with the plane’s weight), and a person can weigh between 140 and 180 pounds…each. There are two people.

adding-up-the-weightthumbnailI weighed 152 pounds with all my winter gear on (two layers of long underwear tops and bottoms, a windstopper vest, fleece sweatshirt, heavy bib overalls, two pair of socks, bunny boots, two pair of glove liners and gloves, fleece gator for my neck and head, sunglasses, hat, parka).

The only way to weigh the things was for me to stand on a scale and hold each item. We’d see the weight of me and the item, then had to subtract my weight to find out exactly what the item weighed. Here are some of the things we have to bring and what each weighed in pounds (lbs.).

  • my backpack–23 lbs
  • my computer gear–11 lbs
  • sleeping bags–7 lbs each (three of them for a total of 21 lbs.)
  • freeze-dried food–22 lbs
  • tent–9 lbs
  • heater–13.5 lbs (for the plane engine compartment)
  • gas stove–3.5 lbs (to heat water)
  • gallon of fuel–7 lbs (for stove)
  • satellite phone–4 lbs
  • bunny boots–5 lbs
  • parkas–4 lbs. (two of them for a total of 8 lbs.)
  • survival bag–24 lbs (hatchet, fire starter, waterproof matches, hook and string, and more!)

Then Mr. Paulsen added up the totals to see what could come along and what had to be left behind. He got 664 pounds. Mr. Lashock (the dog handler) checked over Mr. Paulsen’s math and came up with a different total: 661 pounds.

Other items weighed the following in pounds (lbs.):

So, who was right about the total weight? Why do you know? Are you sure? What would you need to do to be sure you added correctly?


In this case does it matter that you added perfectly, or is “about” good enough?

Keep on adding to your dreams!
Ms. Cater


March 3, 2007

Filed under: Iditarod! — iditalearn2010 @ 7:49 pm

Mr. Paulsen showed me a part of the Iditarod trail today via dog team. It was a beautiful afternoon and the temperature was about 10 degrees above zero.

moosethumbnailThe photo attached was taken about five miles from the start of the race. The trail is hard packed and very fast. We passed overflow. Do you know what overflow is? Overflow is when the snow pushes the ice down and the water from the river flows over the top.

We saw two moose this morning on our way to Talketna for some sourdough pancakes.
My pancake took up the whole plate. Blueberries on top. Yum!

The roadhouse restaurant is a famous spot for mountain climbers before and after their climb up to Denali mountain also known as Mt. McKinley.

I’m looking forward to the start of the race tomorrow. We will be helping Randy Cummins get his dog team to the starting line.

Bye for now,

Mrs. Cater


Snow, Mushers, and Did You Know?

Filed under: Iditarod! — iditalearn2010 @ 1:36 pm

I heard you have a snow day Eden Prairie schools! It’s a great opportunity to play outside and study snowflakes. Check out my friends at for a great description of what a snowflake is made of.

Last evening was the musher banquet. Lance Mackay (cancer survivor) was able to pick number 13 starting position. His father and grandfather won the race with that lucky number in years past. Who do you want to win the race ?

Did you know:
a) More people have climbed Mt Everest than have finished the Iditarod?
b) 82 men and women will start the race on Sunday March 2.
c) There is no snow in “The Burn”. This is the area between Rohn River and Nicolai.
d) Approx 631 people have finished the Iditarod.
e) The average dog will have a new bootie placed on his paw every 40 miles. There are 16 dogs on a team each having four paws. How many booties will a team use in 1100 miles?

Hike! Hike!

Mrs. Cater


The Adventure Begins!

Filed under: Iditarod! — iditalearn2010 @ 3:18 pm

I was so excited when I woke up this morning. Today I leave for Alaska, arriving at 2:00 in the morning, Minnesota time. I’m so tired and wired all at the same time.IMG_0059

The banquet for the mushers is tomorrow evening. That is where the musher chooses what order s/he will start the race in, along with saying a special thank you to family and friends who have supported them.

Speaking of the word thank you, your send-off today touched my heart. Eden Lake is an amazing place to learn and feel love.

Thank you for the wonderful send-off. My heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation.

It takes a “team” to produce Iditalearn for all of us. Mr. Brown’s and Mr. Clay’s class built wonderful sleds. Cool wheels huh? Ms. Ulmer has been working really hard on the website. Thank you to the technology department for use of the equipment and support. A special thanks to Mr. Richter for supporting all of us.

One of my favorite sayings is “Don’t be afraid of life! Go for it!” What new thing would you like to try?

Making memories!


Mrs. Cater


The Iditarod!

Filed under: Iditarod! — iditalearn2010 @ 1:56 pm

Come along for the ride! Ms. Cater will be heading to Alaska in just TWO short weeks!

Be sure to stop back and see what she has to say from the trail. She’ll be writing soon!

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