Though Karen Land
loves dogs and the outdoors, she never pictured herself as a dog sledder. She hated the cold and enjoyed a good night's sleep in bed. Then, during a hike with a beloved canine pal, Land read Gary Paulsen's book Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod
. She caught the madness. Land, a writer, moved to Alaska to learn more. Soon, she assembled her own team and began training for the famous 1,150-mile dog-sled trail across Alaska. "My main obsession was, I love dogs," she says. "And I just like the idea of having this connection and spending this time with them and creating challenges that I can do with dogs."More people have reached the summit of Mount Everest than have finished the Iditarod
. Land and her dogs completed it three times, in 2002, 2003 and 2004. She wrote about her experiences at mymusher.com
, which also features photos of the animals who carried her — literally — through so many cold, sleepless nights on the trail. "To me, the dogs are just so amazing," Land says. "They're amazing athletes. They can run 100 miles straight without stopping. And then they can do it all over again."Once inspired by a book, Land now takes her own story to libraries and schools. Today, she and her sled-dog Borage visit two branches of the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Library. At 2 p.m., they stop at the Central Library (14 West 10th Street), and at 3:30 p.m. they appear at the Westport Branch (118 Westport Road). Both talks are free, but reservations are recommended. Call 816-701-3407.
Sat., Dec. 8, 2 & 3:30 p.m., 2007