I would like to share a story with you about a fourteen year old teenager from Moose Pass named Ashley Guernsey. Ashley is the oldest of four children of Russell and Melissa Guernsey.
You see, since Ashley was six years old, she has wanted to be a dog musher. The movie “Season of the Sled Dog” was a favorite of hers when she was little. By age nine, Ashley had her own two sled dogs named Abigail and Spot. She devoted her time to training her dogs.
Dan Seavey, who ran in the first Iditarod in 1973 and patriarch of the Seavey mushing dynasty, introduced her to mushing by letting her run some of his dogs. At the ceremonial start of the Iditarod, he let her handle dogs and ride with the him. Dan also helped shape Ashley’s love of mushing by letting her help with the Seward Mayor’s Cup Race for several years. Ashley’s mentor, Victor Creek musher Rick Tarpey, is one her favorite mushers. Tarpey is on a long list of Ashley’s favorite mushers, including the distinguished elder Seavey, Mitch Seavey, Rachel Snodorris, and Dee Dee Jonrowe.
Living in Moose Pass as a teenager is no easy task. Seward Middle and High Schools are over a one hour bus ride away…twice a day!
Ashley must juggle her commute, her honor level studies, and athletics with training time. Ashley will run dogs anywhere from five to 100 miles per week. I asked Ashley what she hopes to be when she grows up. Her reply was she isn’t sure what she will become once she grows up, but she knows that she will run the Iditarod.
Next month on February 22nd, Ashley will run her first Junior Iditarod, a 150 mile endurance race including a 10 hour layover. The Junior mushers are responsible for all aspect of this event, including dog care, food preparation, and outdoor skills. You can read more about the Jr. Iditarod at http://jriditarod.biz/
I just thought if folks knew about Ashley they would surely help. I am helping to spread the story about Ashley, her goals, and dreams. I asked her parents if I may tell everyone about Ashley and my idea. They are just overwhelmed, already, by the generosity of people. I think we can overwhelm them even more!