Brooks Range
Grizzly along the Denali Highway Rafting the Gulkana National Wild River Native woman drying salmon on racks ATV rider on trails near Glennallen Surveyor
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Trail History

 Northern lights over a northern fort


The Poetry of the Iditarod: 
"The Men Who Blaze the Trails"

By Sam. C. Dunham, copyright 1913

Let others sing of those who’ve won
            Full hoard of virgin gold!
I strike the lyre for those who’ve none,
            But yet are strong and bold—
Who’ve blazed the trails through a pathless waste
And on the world’s new chart have traced
The lines that lead where the treasure’s placed,
            And all their secrets told.

They search the streams and hillsides rend,
            The hidden truth to learn:
They trudge where land and sky-line blend,
            And gaze till eyeballs burn;
They scale bleaks heights whence vast plains sweep,
And sow for those who come to reap,
While wives and sweethearts in homeland weep
            And pray for their return.
Afar in regions of night-gloomed day
            Their slender shadows leap;
O’ver snow-crowned peaks they fight their way
            To where the Gold-gods sleep;
Where the congelations of the ages lie,
And athwart the dome of the midnight sky
Aurora’s moon-drenched splendors fly,
            Onward their footsteps creep.
Out where Deathland, reft of bush or tree,
            Spreads like a sun-browned land;
To the verge of the rigid, ice-locked sea,
            Where twilight weds the dawn;
Where a sheenless moon sails the sunlight night,
Where inert and dim bides the Mystic Light,
And the white swan ends his vernal flight,
They still are pressing on.
So while others sing of the chosen few
            Who o’er the Fates prevail,
I will sing of the many, staunch and true,
            Whose brave hearts never quail—
Who with the dauntless spirit of pioneers
A State are building for the coming years,
Their sole reward their loved ones’ tears—
            The men who blaze the trail!