HUMAN

Name: NAN ELLIOT
Age: 67
Residence: ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
Occupation: WRITER/FILMMAKER
Years involved with Iditarod: 25+YEARS
Iditarod Role: VOLUNTEER, I’M DOING ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING
Current Location: AIRLAND TRANSPORT WAREHOUSE, ANCHORAGE
Date of Photo: FEBRUARY 15, 2019
Temperature: 60F / INDOORS

What is your Why?.. Why are you here today and involved in Iditarod?:  

I THINK IDITAROD IS LIKE A LOVE AFFAIR. AND IT’S THE MARDI GRAS OF ALASKA. YOU KNOW, EVERY MARCH THE SUN STARTS TO RETURN. YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE START TO GET EXCITED ABOUT ALASKA AND COMING TO ALASKA. AND, YOU KNOW, MANY YEARS AGO I WENT OUT WITH JOE REDINGTON ON THE WHOLE IDITAROD TRAIL. AND I WAS HIS PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILMMAKER. AND I DON’T THINK YOU EVER HAVE A HIGHER EXPERIENCE THAN THAT. IT WAS JUST SO WONDERFUL AND TO BE ABLE TO TAP BACK INTO THAT.

Tell me about your most rewarding experience on Iditarod?:

IN 1993 JOE REDINGTON , SR. ASKED IF I WOULD COME AND BE STAFF FOR HIM ON THIS COMPLETELY WACKY, CRAZY IDEA OF TAKING SIX NEOPHYTES OUT ON THE IDITAROD TRAIL THE DAY AFTER THE RACE STARTED SO WE’D HAVE THE BENEFIT OF THE TRAIL. AND HE ASKED IF I WOULD BE HIS PHOTOGRAPHER AND HIS JOURNALIST AND HIS FILMMAKER. YOU KNOW – JUST LIKE JOE – WILL YOU BE EVERYTHING. AND I HAD NEVER DRIVEN A SNOWMACHINE BEFORE. SO HE THREW ME ON A SNOWMACHINE AND I HAD NEVER DRIVEN ONE BEFORE. AND OFF I WENT. AND OFTENTIMES I WAS THE ONE WHO HAD TO GO OUT AHEAD OF EVERYBODY ELSE AND GO DOWN THE HAPPY RIVER HILLS AHEAD OF EVERYBODY ELSE. I JUST REMEMBER THAT IT WAS SO THRILLING. EVERY MOMENT WAS SO THRILLING TO BE OUT THERE IN INCREDIBLE COUNTRY WITH THIS WONDERFUL TEAM AND EXPEDITION.  I LEARNED SO MUCH.  THERE’S INCREDIBLE MOMENTS OF JUST – I CAN THINK OF ONE GETTING TO RAINY PASS.  AND I FELT COMFORTABLE ENOUGH.  I’D FALLEN OFF, I’D DUG MYSELF OUT. I HAD TAKEN A LOT OF PHOTOGRAPHS. I WAS A LITTLE BIT SEASONED BY THAT POINT. AND I DROVE THE MACHINE UP AND WAITED BY THE SIDE OF THIS HILL AND WATCHED ALL THE MUSHERS AND PHOTOGRAPHED THEM COMING THROUGH THE PASS.  AND IT WAS SO WIDE OPEN AND SO SPECTACULAR AND SO BIG, THAT YOU JUST FELT THE MAGIC OF THE WORLD AND THE GIFT OF BEING ABLE TO GO WITH JOE AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT BONDED FOR LIFE OVER THAT EXPERIENCE.

What do you know for sure?

LESS AND LESS EVERY YEAR. BUT REALLY, IN A VERY, VERY DEEP WAY THAT THIS LIFE IS SUCH A GIFT. AND TO BE OUT IN NATURE IS LIKE BEING IN THE MOST MARVELOUS CATHEDRAL. AND TO SHARE THAT WITH PEOPLE AND PEOPLE ALONG THE TRAIL WHERE THE SPIRIT IS GOOD. EVERYBODY’S HELPING. I THINK THE THING I KNOW FOR SURE IS WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE IS ABOUT JOY. AND IT’S NOT THAT WE HAVE IT EVERY DAY, BUT WE GET IT. THAT’S WHAT WE’RE HERE FOR. I THINK, THAT’S THE GIFT OF LIVING ON THE EARTH. AND THE JOY FOR ME COMES WITH THE COMBINATION OF BEING WITH PEOPLE OUT IN THE WILDERNESS.

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