Native Honesdalian participates


Sixteen-year-old Emily Krol of Wasilla, Alaska is addicted to dog sledding.


This past weekend, the former Honesdalian participated in the two-day, 150-mile Jr. Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Wasilla. Finishing the course in 29 hours, which included a mandatory 10-hour stop, Emily came in ninth out of 13 dog sled teams; all mushers were between 14 and 17 years of age.


Sixteen-year-old Emily Krol of Wasilla, Alaska is addicted to dog sledding.


This past weekend, the former Honesdalian participated in the two-day, 150-mile Jr. Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Wasilla. Finishing the course in 29 hours, which included a mandatory 10-hour stop, Emily came in ninth out of 13 dog sled teams; all mushers were between 14 and 17 years of age.    


The daughter of Dan Krol of Honesdale and Mary Crooks of Alaska, Emily says she received a congratulatory phone call from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s in-laws. “I’m actually friends with Todd (Palin’s) dad and stepmom,” she said.


In the three years she’s lived there, Emily says she’s fallen in love with Alaska. “Which is kind of ironic,” she says. “Because, when we first got here, I cried to leave; but, when it came time to leave, I cried to stay.”


“Never in a million years would I have imagined myself being here. Three years ago, when we moved up here, we just planned on being here a little bit,” she explained.


That’s when her Aunt Maggie and Uncle Bob Bryson bought her a five-mile dog sled ride and the rest is history. “It was a local musher. I had followed ...his races, pictures of his dogs online,” she says. The local musher was none other than Ryan Redington. “He is the grandson of the person who started the Iditarod,” Emily said.


She was exhilarated, enjoying the ride in the sled bag when Redington touched down the snow hook to stop the dogs. “When he got off the runners and walked up next to me, he said, ‘Okay, get out.’ Then he said, ‘Get on.’ I was standing next to the sled; he wanted me to get on the runners,” she said. And a new musher was born.


“He’s an awesome guy; I love him,” she added.


Emily started training for the Jr. Iditarod back in October, putting in some 1500+ miles of training. It was difficult, juggling homework and school, and the dogs she said. But her mom was ever helpful, trying to work around her work schedule.


Eight great dogs
The Jr. Iditarod Dog Sled Race took place February 27 and 28. Though mushers could have as many as 10 dogs per team, Emily chose to race with eight. By the way, she loves dogs.
Her impressive team consisted of: Twix (her favorite), Columbia, Charlie, Gareth, Fed Ex, Roosevelt, Rolo and Rain.


They worked well together, but the honest teen says they did get a little lost opening day. They were to drop down on the river and head north, following the trail markers. Unbeknownst to Emily, there were identical trail markers headed south, leading to a lodge. She lost about an hour before she figured it out and turned her team around.


 Though she’d started with eight dogs, Emily made the decision to leave her lead dog, Columbia at the half-way checkpoint in Yentna. “She’s my oldest, nine years-old,” Emily explained. Columbia was tired and showing a bit of a limp after 75 miles. Though Emily had “rubbed her out” she remained concerned for the dog’s well-being, and felt better leaving her behind to be cared for.
She was forced to leave Charlie at Eagle Song, another checkpoint, when he turned up lame. He’d stepped in a moose hole and started limping, she said, much as a person would twist an ankle in a “ground-hog hole.”


Emily finished the race with Gareth and Fed Ex in lead; Twix, her favorite, was in swing spot; followed by Roosevelt in team position; and Rolo and Rain as the wheel dogs. Twix and Rolo belong to Wade Marrs, with the remainder of the dogs owned by Ryan Redington.
Emily says, “In a good way, I blame [Redington] for my addiction to sled dogs and mushing. He’s the one who got me started; he’s the one who put me on the runners ...no turning back.”
Emily’s race sponsors included: Rent-E-Quip, Inc. of Honesdale; 907 Landscaping; her mom and Jess; John and Marilyn Mapes; Little Su 4-H/Larisa Myers-McCoin; and Ric and Rhonda Weinrick. 

  
A junior in high school, Emily hopes to one day become a veterinarian. Her future plans include possibly attending the University of Alaska for pre-veterinarian study, followed by Colorado State University.