A gloomy Thanksgiving Day couldn’t dampen the spirits of Karin Hendrickson.
"That's what gives my life focus, that's what I care about. If I'm not running dogs, I don't know what the heck I would be doing."
Hendrickson spoke to the media from her bed at Providence Hospital Thursday for the first time since surviving an accident on the Parks Highway Tuesday night.
(Photo from www.adn.com)
She vividly remembers what happened to her 14 dogs as she was practicing on a dirt trail paralleling the highway. A driver lost control of her SUV near mile marker 91 and left the road.
"I was watching it, and thought, we're going to be OK; it came over the edge, missed all the dogs and plowed into the four wheeler, head on."
Hendrickson says she was knocked 20 feet into the air.
"I was kind of waiving my hands and feet and trying to stay oriented, and landed on my feet, down in the ditch, and then flew backwards onto my back."
Despite being injured, Hendrickson called a friend and asked for help with finding her dog team. The animals has been separated during the accident, all the dogs have been accounted for.
"They were looked over by a vet right after the accident and they're all fine. There are a couple scrapes and bruises, one dog had a cut on his foot, but really, really minor."
Hendrickson wasn’t so lucky. The six time Iditarod participant suffered a broken back. She moved to Alaska in 2003 just to become a musher and is determined to be healed before Iditarod 2016.
"My recovery is going to take a little longer. But they say it's going to be a full recovery and I should be able to get back to mushing in a year or so."
I said it before: Alaskans are tougher than average. You can see the whole story and interview here.