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Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the…

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod (1994)

by Gary Paulsen

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7683317,322 (4.28)129
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    A Walk in the Woods (Abridged Audio book) by Bill Bryson (SugarCreekRanch)
    SugarCreekRanch: Both books recall a adventurous outdoor challenge (hiking the Appalachian trail, or running the Iditarod), told with an wonderful sense of humor. Entertaining reads for the armchair adventurer!

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What a wild ride/read! This narrative of the author’s first run of the Iditarod is crazy to the point of insane, filled with gritty, descriptive language of the hardships endured by musher and dogs alike and laugh out loud funny in so many places. I am grateful to my sister for the rec. I would never have chosen it if I had not seen her review on Goodreads. The author’s name, Gary Paulsen, brought immediate and fond memories of Hatchett, a YA book from my kids’ school days. I love his writing style, so approachable, self-deprecating, sparing no details. If you are looking for an exciting, quick read, this one will do it. The ending was a surprise which always adds to the drama of finishing a true story. ( )
  beebeereads | May 7, 2017 |
I've read more than half dozen books about the Iditarod and this is my favorite. It is very funny, and yet it gives a very true depiction of the hazards and terrors of running the Last Great Race, a distance of 1,049 miles (equivalent to dog-sledding from Boston to Florida). Gary Paulsen is an award-winning author of children's books so it is no surprise that he writes in a very clear and easy-to-understand style, and I suspect it may be where his humor comes from. If you love dogs you will be especially enthralled with this book. As he writes, "It's all about the dogs." And Paulsen's love for his dogs is evident. ( )
  bjtimm | Nov 8, 2016 |
Review: Winterdance by Gary Paulsen.

This is a interesting story with some humor and sadness in the mix about a man’s determination to train fifteen Husky sled dogs to run in the nine hundred seventy-five mile Iditarod Alaska Race, that’s not counting the miles off trail when your lost. Gary Paulsen gives his readers first-hand accounts of his long journey’s scenario of his struggles, emotional feelings, human errors, humor, happiness, and cold adventure in the wilderness with his beloved dogs.

The first part of the book was about how much he wanted and needed to run the Iditarod race stretching across the state of Alaska from Anchorage to Nome. First on his list was the preparation of finding more dogs, training the dogs, getting the right equipment, reading book after book on the race, the dogs training etc. With the training of the dogs came being attacked by dogs, run over by dogs, and often spending time and many miles being dragged along on the ground behind his sled by his dogs. Gary often found himself repairing the sled and harnesses and sometimes separated from his team. He walked for miles looking for his dogs and sled only to find out his team was home and safe. One night out running with his team he got sprayed by five different skunks in rapid succession that his wife made him sleep in the kennel with the dogs….

The second part of the book takes the reader through the race itself. At the beginning he made every rookie mistake there was. Some other man at the start didn’t think he would make it out of Anchorage, let alone trying to get to the beginning of the trail. Before he got out of Anchorage he went through people’s yards, tore down fences, knocked over trash cans and at one point he went through someone’s car-port and across a backyard with fifteen dogs and a fully loaded sled. However, Gary did finally get to the trail and was on his way.

As the story of the race proceeds things start getting serious and Gary Paulsen learns about himself, about the dogs, and about life. He was becoming part of the frozen world of the north, eventually feeling more at home in the wilderness then back at his home in Minnesota. He was not a race champion or hero but he was one of the rankest rookies out there. Gary spends many nights on his backside, being dragged down steep slopes, through second growth forest while also enduring moose attacks, blizzards, dog bites, frost bitten toes, sixty below zero temperatures, wind gusting squalls and too many helpings of moose chili. I enjoyed Paulsen’s vivid detailed descriptions about slamming into trees through rough terrain, being urinated on, eating dog mush, waking up under three feet of snow in an area he rested the dogs for the night and not realizing there were ten or more other teams sleeping under the snow in the same area. The best part of the story was how he interacted with his team of Husky’s. His relationship with his dogs grew to a point where he considered himself one of them. Together they endured the brutal weather, the long days, and the last mile pulling into Nome, Alaska……They weren’t first but they weren’t last either…..
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
"But the beauty of the woods, the incredible joy of it is too alluring to be ignored, and I could not stand to be away from it--indeed, still can't--and so I ran dogs simply to run dogs; to be in and part of the forest, the woods."

“How can it be to live without the dogs.”

Paulsen is a outdoorsy, kind of guy, living in the wilds of Minnesota, but one day, in his early 40s, he decides to run the Iditarod. A grueling 1,180 miles dog-race, from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.
This is his memoir, of that event and it is awesome. It is also funny, gripping and terrifying. There is more adventure packed into these pages, that you would find, in a half a dozen other books.
I thought the idea of climbing Mt. Everest, is insane, (it does remind me of Into Thin Air, just not as somber) but this is a whole different kind of madness.
I can not recommend this one high enough and I will be searching out more of his work. ( )
1 vote msf59 | Feb 3, 2016 |
Gary Paulsen tells us how, living in Minnesota, he came to participate in the Iditarod, the legendary dog sled race across Alaska, in 1983. When he made the decision to participate, he had very little experience and at the starting line he was not expected to last through the race.

The narrative is inspiring and amusing as he takes us along his learning experiences on working with dogs, establishing a very close relationship with the dog and finally running the race itself. It is quite fast paced and paints a vivid picture of the difficulties one has to overcome to reach the finishing line in this race that takes the participants 1153 miles across an unforgiving landscape in deep winter.
( )
  sushicat | Jan 14, 2016 |
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To the Iditarod Volunteers,who make the race happen.
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The storm broke with a sudden viciousness that startled, frightened me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156001454, Paperback)

Fueled by a passion for running dogs, Gary Paulsen entered the Iditarod--the 1150-mile winter sled-dog race between Anchorage and Nome-- in dangerous ignorance and with a fierce determination. Winterdance is his account of this seventeen-day battle against Nature's worst elements and his own frailty.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The author's account of his most ambitious quest, to know a world beyond his knowing, to train for and run the Iditarod.

» see all 3 descriptions

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