WILLOW, Alaska (KTUU)
Justin High, one of 17 rookies planning to run the 2017 Iditarod. High and his wife, Iditarod veteran Jaimee, lost their home twice in two years to wildfires.
Preparing for your first Iditarod is never easy, but imagine building a competitive dog team while rebuilding your life.
One of 17 rookies who will begin the 1,000-mile race Monday in Fairbanks, 33-year-old Justin High lost his Willow home to wildfire twice in two years.
A blaze claimed the home of High and wife Jaimee, a 2012 Iditarod finisher, in December 2014. The loss ended Jaimee’s plans for her second Iditarod run and -- as the couple rebuilt on the same property -- the devastating Sockeye Fire claimed their new home as well.
“Jaimee was pregnant and we just had to do it. We just keep on going,” High said of the effort to rebuild yet again.
Only a few possessions, and the couple’s dogs, survived. Those huskies will join Justin on the trail this year as he takes aim at Rookie of the Year.
In the photo below, see High's dog yard in 360-degrees.
The dog yard of #Iditarod rookie Justin High today. In the background: Matchstick greets burned in the Sockeye Fire. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA