For the last week, thoughts and prayers have been swirling in my head about dog musher, Melanie Gould.
Please see the Fairbank's Daily News-Miner for the story.
Melanie is gone. Not reporting to work. Leaving her dogs unattended.
When I first saw the concern pop up on the social media site, Facebook, I thought perhaps Melanie connected with a friend to look after her dogs, and went to the bush for a couple nights of solitude. I understand that desire. Afterall, she lives near Talkeetna, Alaska.
I even understand how mushers have been failed in the past by "caretakers" not showing up to fill in as promised.
I thought, won't she be surprised to see the fuss when she returns home. But as the story unfolded, and the concern poured in, I realized something wasn't quite right.
Facebook has a page "Have you seen Melanie Gould?" that is an excellent resource for updates and information. Her two friends, both named Amanda, are working hard at sticking to the facts of this unfolding drama.
No, I've never met Melanie. But if you are a dog musher, you know her.
Melanie has crossed over the Iditarod finish line 6 times, as a rookie in 2000, and with her best showing in 2006. In 2007, she scratched. She did not finish.
As with all Iditarod mushers, we followers watch their actions. The same goes for Melanie. You know how she stands on the runners of a sled, how she pulls her snow hook, what she wears as outdoor gear, how she treats her dogs, her smile.
One of my early blogs featured pictures of her year 'round "outdoor shower", providing me with inspiration for our "unique" shower system. The link to Melanie's photos is now gone...vanished. Just as she disappeared quietly last week.
Now, a week later, the mystery continues. My dreams are now filled with all things Melanie. She encompasses my waking (and now sleeping) thoughts.
I pray this ends well. She's tough, and resourceful - two key elements in being safe.
God speed search party.