Monday, March 30, 2009

An afternoon with Balto, an otter and two little girls

Elise walking up a stairway at a local park

I am lucky. Both of my girls love nature. So we spent time this last weekend hiking in the muddy NE Ohio woods and visiting Balto (and some other creatures) at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Elise and her daddy, along with two crazy dogs

Many may (or may not) know that Balto only led the last 53 miles of the famous 1925 diphtheria serum run that saved the lives of many people in Nome, Alaska. Togo, another dog who ran in the serum run, did most of the work, but got little credit. Sadly, after publicity of the serum run died down, Balto's owner, musher Gunnar Kaasen, sold him and the rest of the team to a traveling "dog and pony show" before Balto ended up at the Cleveland zoo where he spent the rest of his days. This is how Balto came to rest in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Seems like a sad end for such a heroic and strong animal who did so much to help people.

Here is a video I shot of a movie at the museum commemorating Balto and the Serum Run that became the foundation for the Iditarod every year. The happy looks on the dogs' faces are familiar, despite this footage being more than 80 years old.

Here are some other pictures from the day:

Sophie, future musher, and Balto

Sophie playing with Mr. Potato Head at the new forensic science exhibit

Sophie and a bear statue outside the museum

The favorite activity of the day was seeing raccoons and the otter exhibits at the museum.

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