HUMAN

Name: AARON PECK
Age: 39
Residence: GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB, CANADA
Occupation: I AM A DOG MUSHER. I AM A TOUR OPERATOR AND LONG-DISTANCE COMPETITOR. ENTREPRENEUR.
Years involved with Iditarod: I CAME TO ALASKA IN 1998 TO APPRENTICE UNDER MARTIN BUSER. I GUESS THAT WOULD BEGIN MY INVOLVEMENT DIRECTLY WITH THE RACE AND BEING A COMPETITOR.
Iditarod Role: MUSHER
Current Location: MCGRATH, ALASKA
Date of Photo: MARCH 6, 2019
Temperature: 29F / OUTDOORS

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

IT’S SO COOL YOU ASK THAT QUESTION. IT GOES TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER. I THINK ALL OF US ARE TRYING TO ANSWER THAT AT DIFFERENT TIMES. WE LOVE WORKING WITH THE DOGS. JUST THE LOVE OF THE DOGS. BUT ULTIMATELY, I THINK DEEP DOWN FOR ME, IT’S A CALL TO ADVENTURE. A CALL INTO TRYING TO PIT MYSELF UP AGAINST SOMETHING SO MUCH GREATER THAN MYSELF. AND AS SCARY AS THAT IS AND AS PAINFUL AS THAT IS, IT STILL DRAWS YOU BACK AND TO GO INTO THE UNKNOWN. I THINK IT’S JUST AN INNATE PART OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT TO PURSUE THAT ADVENTURE, TO PURSUE THE UNKNOWN. IT’S WONDERFUL THAT IDITAROD EXISTS PROVIDING US THE LOGISTICAL SUPPORT AND THE DESIGN AND THE LAYOUT. IT’S WONDERFUL. IT BRINGS SO MANY PEOPLE TOGETHER. EVERYONE IN THIS ENTIRE RACE IS SEEKING ADVENTURE, FROM THE VOLUNTEERS TO THE RACE VETERINARIANS TO YOURSELF. IT’S BEEN THE HUMAN SPIRIT FOREVER: EXPLORING AND PUSHING LIMITS; GOING BEYOND INTO THE UNKNOWN. THAT’S HOW THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA WERE PIONEERED; BY THAT SPIRIT. SO WE’RE JUST CONTINUING IT FORWARD IN OUR OWN UNIQUE WAY. IT SEEMS MOST GROUND IS CONQUERED THESE DAYS, BUT MOTHER NATURE PRESENTS A NEW CHALLENGE EVERY YEAR. IT’S ALL NEW EVERY YEAR.

Tell me about your most rewarding experience on Iditarod?:

THE PAINFUL PARTS STICK OUT THE MOST. I THINK OF 2009, WHEN I SCRATCHED 100 MILES FROM THE FINISH. THE LAST TWO OR THREE DAYS LEADING UP TO THAT SCRATCH WERE VERY HUMBLING. INTIMIDATING JUST REALIZING JUST HOW SMALL AND HELPLESS I WAS. AND JUST LEARNING THE LESSONS THAT THE RACE TEACHES YOU ABOUT PATIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING REALITY. I WAS DOWN TO A SMALL TEAM AND PLUGGING AWAY. AND THE WEATHER WAS EXTREME GOING UP THE YUKON RIVER. JUST TRUDGING AWAY. NOBODY’S COMING TO HELP YOU UNLESS YOU WANT TO QUIT, AND SO I EVENTUALLY HAD TO.

What do you know for sure?:

MY ANSWER MORE LATELY IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, AS I’M IN MY LAST HALF OF MY 30S, AND IT’S FUNNY. I’M HEARING THE SAME ANSWER FROM SOME OF THESE CHAMPION MUSHERS HERE, MARTIN BUSER, JEFF KING. I’VE HEARD AT LEAST FROM ONE OF THEM OR SO, AND OTHER PEOPLE IN LIFE: IT’S LIKE, THE MORE YOU THINK YOU KNOW, OR THE MORE YOU DO SOMETHING, YOU REALIZE HOW LITTLE YOU KNOW – HOW LITTLE YOU ACTUALLY KNOW, BECAUSE YOU CANNOT PREDICT OR…. I WAS TALKING TO MARTIN BUSER THE OTHER DAY IN RAINY PASS AND I SAID, “BACK IN THE OLD DAYS, WHEN YOU USED TO COMPETE RIGHT AT THE FRONT, HOW DID YOU PLAN THIS NEXT PART OF YOUR RACE?” AND HE SAID, “WELL, I HAD IT DIALED RIGHT DOWN TO THE MINUTE. I KNEW EXACTLY THE RUN TIMES AND ALL THIS, BUT – AT LEAST I THOUGHT I KNEW,” HE SAID. YOU KNOW, IT JUST CHANGES. SO WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE IS THAT I DON’T KNOW MUCH, SO I’M JUST TRYING MY BEST.

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